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History of Gold

Gold has been depicted as the essence of evil and greed. Yet, these are human traits, not mineral. In fact, when we reward human endeavor and the highest achievement, we present gold medals and awards. It a contradictory thing and yet, as the oldest precious metal known to man, remains extremely popular. Perhaps it is the traits of longevity and indestructibility that made it - and continues to make it - the medium of choice for jewelry.


It has been estimated that if all of the gold ever refined were lumped together, if would make a cube of 66 feet per side. That is all there is! This being true, it is easy to see why the metal is held to be precious.

Geological studies conducted in Spain have unearthed bits of natural gold in caves used by Paleolithic, or Stone Age, man roughly 40,000 years ago. This is not to say that cavemen used gold. It is safe to say that they did not. Arguments still go on about the precise date that the metal was first put to use. It seems that it is the nature of gold to be surrounded by controversy and debate. Nathan Meyer Rothschild, founder of the financial dynasty that bears his name, remarked that he knew of only two men who understood the true value of gold one a clerk in the basement vault of the Banque de Paris and the other, one of the directors of the Bank of England. Unfortunately, the two did not agree.

It is fairly certain that c. 4000 BC, gold was mined in what is now Greece and Romania and was being used in decoration by cultures living in Eastern Europe.

In roughly 3000 BC, the Sumerians, in what is now southern Iraq, and the Egyptians were well acquainted with gold for use in jewelry. Interestingly enough, the medium of exchange in ancient Egypt was barley, not gold. It was not until 1500 BC that gold was recognized as a medium for international trade.

Next: The Remarkable Malleability of Gold

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