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How gold wedding rings go missing abrasively

A gold wedding band symbolises permanence, but bits of it disappear as a marriage endures, scraping against the marital skin every moment that metal and finger convene. Georg Steinhauser, a chemist at Vienna University of Technology, calculated how much goes missing, how quickly and at what cost.

Steinhauser’s study, Quantification of the Abrasive Wear of a Gold Wedding Ring, appears in a 2008 issue of Gold Bulletin, a quarterly journal published by the World Gold Council, whose stated goal is “to stimulate desire for gold by articulating core truths and discovering new opportunities”.

Steinhauser got married. A week later he weighed his wedding ring. He weighed it every week over the next year. The report shows a graph of the weight, revealing an average loss of about .12mg a week….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

BONUS: Freda Payne sings “Band of Gold:

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