History of Gold
The Eternal Standard of Wealth
is the oldest precious metal known to
man.and has a long and complex history.
From gold’s first discovery, it has
symbolized wealth and guaranteed power.
Homer, in the "Iliad" and "Odyssey,"
makes mention of gold as the glory of
the immortals and a sign of wealth among
ordinary humans. In Genesis 2:10-12,
we learn of the river Pison out of Eden,
and "the land of Havilah, where there
is gold: and the gold of that land is
good." The oldest worked-gold objects,
the products of the ancient Thracian
civilization, were made as early as
4000 BC, and were discovered at a burial
site in Varna, Bulgaria. In 3100 B.C.
we have evidence of a gold-to-silver
value ratio in the code of Menes, the
founder of the first Egyptian dynasty.
In this code it is stated that "one
part of gold is equal to two and one
half parts of silver in value." This
is our earliest of a value relationship
between gold and silver. The oldest
pieces of gold jewelry Egyptian jewelry
were found in the tomb of Queen Zer
and that of Queen Pu-abi of Ur in Sumeria
and are the oldest examples found of
any kind of jewelry in a find from the
third millennium BC.
The Persian Empire, in what is now Iran,
made frequent use of Gold in artwork
as part of the religion of Zoroastrianism.
Persian goldwork is most famous for
its animal art, which was modified after
the Arabs conquered the area in the
7th century AD. When Rome began to flourish,
the city attracted talented Gold artisans
who created gold jewelry of wide variety.
The use of gold in Rome later expanded
into household items and furniture in
the homes of the higher classes. By
the third century AD, the citizens of
Rome wore necklaces that contained coins
with the image of the emperor. As Christianity
spread through the European continent,
Europeans ceased burying their dead
with their jewelry. As a result, few
gold items survive from the Middle Ages,
except those of royalty and from church
hordes. In the Americas, the skill of
Pre-Columbian cultures in the use of
Gold was highly advanced long before
the arrival of the Spanish. Indian goldsmiths
had mastered most of the techniques
known by their European contemporaries
when the Spanish arrived. They were
adept at filigree, granulation, pressing
and hammering, inlay and lost-wax methods.
The Spanish conquerors melted down most
of the gold that they took from the
peoples of this region and most of the
remaining examples have come from modern
excavations of grave sites. The greatest
deposits of gold from these times were
in the Andes and in Columbia.
During the frontier days of the United
States news of the discovery of gold
in a region could result in thousands
of new settlers, many risking their
lives to find gold. Gold rushes occurred
in many of the Western States, the most
famous occuring in California at Sutter’s
Mill in 1848. Elsewhere, gold rushes
happened in Australia in 1851, South
Africa in 1884 and in Canada in 1897.
The rise of a gold standard was meant
to stabilize the global economy, dictating
that a nation must limit its issued
currency to the amount of gold it held
in reserve. Great Brittain was the first
to adopt the gold standard in 1821,
followed, in the 1870s, by the rest
of Europe followed. The system remained
in effect until the end of the first
world war, after which the US was the
only country still honoring the Gold
Standard. After the war, other countries
were allowed to keep reserves of major
currencies instead of gold. The arrival
of the great depression marked the end
of the U.S. export of gold in the 1930s.
Today, investors are turning back to
gold as the eternal standard of wealth.
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