Just because you never heard about it doesn't mean that it isn't true. Also, I know that they do that to make sure it is pure gold.
Gold coins sometimes used to be checked that way, but the reason you think is backwards. The gold used in coins is a relatively high-strength alloy which makes it too strong to bend with your teeth. They use it to check for other cheaper metals (lead, specifically) that would be used in counterfeit coins that can be bent with teeth.
Since lead has been shown to have direct links to health issues, checking with your teeth has gone out of practice.
Yeah, what MadScientist said. The only thing weaker would be quartz. Minecraft pretty much got that right on the nose with gold. Not with obsidian though. That stuff is apparently really brittle in real life, despite being ridiculously tough to break in Minecraft.
The remarkable quality of obsidian (in rl) is that while it is extremely sharp, when chipped into teardrop shapes; resistant to shatter, it holds that sharp edge remarkably well. In the ancient 'Americas' obsidian wasn't only used for ceremonial purposes. The Aztecs, did use it mainly for ceremonial purposes, but entire empires were built on the mining and crafting of obsidian tools of such quality that their cultural impact was similar to that of the iron age. Teotihuacan in particular, which predates the Aztecs by such a great timespan that the Aztec people regarded the empty city of Teotihuacan as the city of the gods. Even the word Teotihuacan is an Aztec word. The true names of the people and their city was lost to time since they, for unknown reasons, refused to adopt a system of writing even though the cultures they traded with had and widely used them. But yeah, the Aztec would never mine industrial quantities of obsidian, out of philosophical and spiritual reverence. Still, sharp stuff!
Gold is more of a utility resource used for powered rails, Gold apples, Enchanted Golden Apples (Notch Apple), glistening melons (potions), golden carrots (breeding horsed and potions). Gold blocks are also used in construction, a sign of wealth. Even if it were improved to last longer, they would not make it last longer than diamond, so diamond would still be better anyhow. Once enough diamond would be accumulated in a world, the gold tools would be obsolete just like iron becomes eventually. I only use Iron in the rare case that I break a diamond tool away from home and have no diamond on me. Iron can be used to make rails and Iron blocks, along with utility items like shears and flint/steel, but Iron tools really are only used in the beginning until diamonds are accumulated. In many ways, Gold has more uses than Iron, once Diamonds are gathered.
I've never seen, nor heard of a jeweler biting a piece of gold (or suspected gold). I sure as h*** wouldn't want a jeweler biting a wedding ring or anything I'd be wearing.
You ever watch the olympics when the medalist winners bite down on their gold medal? This is symbolic more than anything, but what is symbolizes is the fact that gold has been tested for a very long time in history to be real or not by biting down on it. If someone handed you a gold coin to pay for something, you would be able to feel the pure gold metal compress under your teeth (a certain amount of softness to it). In Game of Thrones people are always biting down on "Gold Dragons" (The gold coin standard in the 7 Kingdoms). George R.R. Martin did not invent this process, but rather included in his books as a reference to actual history. It has been a practice for millennia.
If the coin is Iron, or has impurities, the "biter" will be able to tell. The tooth won't leave a mark, or they won't be able to feel it bend, I think Gold also tastes a certain way (or other metals taste certain ways). Iron tastes very "metallic", while gold has a less metallic taste to it.
Edit: well, I did some research, and I guess counterfeit gold coins could be lead with a thin layer of gold on the outside (because the lead counterfeit would be roughly the same weight as a gold coin). Biting the gold coin would mark the softer lead counterfeit (lead is even softer than gold). While if the gold has impurities like copper or silver in it, it would be harder to bite on than a pure gold coin (done by feel of how hard the coin is by biting on it).
I don't really see the need for gold to be viable as a weapon or armor material. That is why there is Diamonds. Gold's main uses are elsewhere. Having all ore be useful in the same sort of way or a scaled pattern would be boring and one dimensional. I think the game designers did an excellent job, playing into real world characteristics of gold. Gold is not a material one would use to hack away at solid rock.
This thread is only about why Golden tools stands out and nothing else, mr. Lovely Fox Boy.
Wood - Ultra Common | Weakest
Stone - Very Common | Weak
Iron - Common | Strong
Diamond - Ultra Rare | Strongest
And then we have Gold...
Gold - Rare | Weak
I've never undestood that.
Ironically, you list wood as being the most common but stone is actually more common by a long shot; in fact, even iron ore is more common than wood*! It is true that wood is the easiest to obtain, simply because it is on the surface and the only material you can harvest with your hands, but it is very easy to get the others afterwards. Even diamond is effectively about twice as common as gold if you use Fortune to mine it when mining at the appropriate levels (5-12), and only 6 times rarer than iron on an ore-ore basis (around 2.7 when mined using Fortune) due to being concentrated in a much smaller number of layers (this also happens to be the difference in durability between iron and diamond tools, so it is just as sustainable to mine with iron tools as with diamond, even more when Fortune is used, then consider Unbreaking, which make much more sense to use on longer-lasting tools; both combined effectively make diamonds 8.8 times more common when comparing diamonds mined to diamonds used for diamond pickaxes).
*Hard to believe but here are some figures from my world for stone, wood, and ores (note that ores are even more common in 1.8, the stone variants listed here (variants of block ID 1) were modded into 1.6.4 generation; plus I've mined out around half a million ores, including a third of a million coal, from the world so far):
(1:5),Stone,19168191 Total stone = 393037606
Also, many people like to say gold is better than diamond because it can mine faster - but only for a limited range of blocks (for a pickaxe; you can mine blocks faster than by hand with the wrong material but you won't get any drops and the speed boost is less than even stone, as e.g. shown for iron blocks) and with very limited uses; a diamond tool with Efficiency V and Unbreaking III is faster and lasts nearly 50 times longer (also very easily repairable using XP from mining, or XP from mobs for a sword) and can mine any block that can be mined.
Gold tools do the same damage as their wooden counterparts but have less durability (but gold armor is stronger than leather armor). This is an insult Notch indirectly made for skydoesminecraft (honestly, I don't like skydoesminecraft).
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