There are many ways to own gold, many forms: jewelry, bullion, coins, mutual funds, gold mining stocks (indirectly) and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). The latter are similar to mini mutual funds, but usually have few stocks and they remain constant rather than have internal trading as mutual funds do. So you can own gold. So what? Why bother when it does not pay any interest or pay any dividends? What is interesting to note that one ounce of gold today will buy the same amount of goods as it did 100 years ago. That item in 1906 might have been $1.00 and today the same item would be priced at $100, but when translated into ounces of gold the weight is the same. Doesn't that make you wonder? That is inflation at work. Gold is inflation proof. Man has had an ongoing love affair with gold since time began. Every culture has valued it.
Columbus didn't set out to find America. He came looking for gold. Gold is the only real store of wealth not the paper we call money. Dollars have depreciated about 50% in value over the past 18 years. It is hard to realize as it sneaks up on us that each day that our dollars are worth less in purchasing power. Wealth is purchasing power. The Federal government prints money that has no backing other than their word. Each dollar is watered down as the printing presses turn. Every war is financed with paper money not gold. If wars were financed with gold there would be fewer wars.
People were not interested in California. It was too far and too hard to get to, but when the cry of ‘gold' went up thousands made the journey to strike it rich. One enterprising man in San Francisco found out about the strike and did not head for the American River to pan for riches. He bought up every pan, pick and shovel in town and them went out to spread the word. The pans he paid 15 cents for he resold for $15. In a week he made $36,000. In those days that was big, big money. Without gold I don't think there would be an American California today as it was claimed by Mexico.
Alaska is another territory that brought the dreamers and schemers because of the lure of gold. Good digs were uncovered in 1949 and more in 1914. Thousands came to remain and settle this seemingly desolate country. Men continue to search the planet for this elusive golden maiden. Very few find it. Others become entrepreneurs who make their fortune from the gold seekers. How you seek your wealth is an individual choice, but the wise ones who do strike it rich convert some of the new found riches into the golden metal to protect their wealth from the attrition of inflation.