Gold is one of the most highly-sought after precious metals in the world. It is used in jewelry, electronics, and coinage. Gold is widely considered to be an effective hedge against inflation, which means that when the dollar depreciates, demand for gold increases. In addition, during times of economic and political uncertainty, the demand for Gold rises due to its high intrinsic value and relative stability. Moreover, the introduction of gold ETFs and the increasing wealth in emerging markets, such as China, India, and Latin America have contributed to rising demand for gold. While demand for gold has been rising, supply has been dropping as many of the top gold producing countries have had decreasing production over the past few years.
Gold has been used as money for more than 3,500 years as it doubles as a currency and a store of value. Gold is one of very few assets that is not the obligation of someone else. It has also proven to be a good hedge as inflation since the experiments with unbacked fiat money began in Europe and the USA in the 18th century.
Gold futures contracts are traded on the COMEX under ticker symbol GC and are delivered in January, February, April, June, August, October, and December of every year. (For more information on commodity tickers, check out the commodity ticker construction page.)
A soft metal with a characteristic deep lustrous yellow or yellow-brown color. Au chemical symbol,  with the chemical element of atomic number 79, valued for use in jewelry and decoration, and to guarantee the value of currencies. The purest form of money, and the oldest, most durable. Gold, Aurum was already legal tender before the first coins. The oldest gold coins derive from the seventh century BC.
Investors use Gold as a store of value. Gold metal offers the appearance of capital appreciation compared to depreciating currencies. Gold has always had favorable liquidity, but Gold is sterile, it does not provide any current income.  Gold does not provide positive cash flow to the owner. Gold owners must pay to maintain, store, and insure Gold, which is an expense. On a cash flow basis Gold a liability, Gold costs you to own it. 
As an example, if returns were adjusted for inflation from 1802 to 2001. $1.00 invested in stocks would have returned $599,605.00 while bonds and bills would have returned $952.00 and $304.00. The results for investments in gold and the US dollar would have resulted in losses, since that $1.00 investment in gold would have been reduced to 98 cents and the US dollar only seven cents. 
For a complete list of companies involved in the gold industry, see Gold Industry
Most gold ETFs buy gold as backing for the fund. 
High end jewelers actually benefits from rising gold prices because as prices rise, gold jewelry becomes a more valuable and coveted option.
Low to mid end jewelry companies tend to suffer from increasing gold prices because the company's lower income clientel are less flexible to price changes.
In addition, individual consumers are hurt by the rise in gold prices as they are no longer able afford it. This is particularly true for cultures which rely on gold articles as a symbol or key aspect to ceremonies.
Below are five series for determining the value of gold price historically: