The Mystery And History Of GoldThe Mystery And History Of Gold

Gold has been around since the beginning of time and has a long and complicated history. Gold has always symbolized wealth and power. Gold has caused obsessions in men and countries. Gold throughout history has destroyed some cultures and gave power to others.

The oldest piece of Egyptian jewelry found was in the tomb of Queen Zer and is the oldest example found of any kind from the third millennium BC. The tomb of Tutankhamen was found undisturbed by archaeologists. Inside they found the largest collection of gold and jewelry in the world.

The Persian Empire made frequent use of Gold in artwork and as part of the religion of Zoroastrianism. Persian gold work is known for its animal art. When Rome began to flourish it attracted many talented gold artisans who created a wide variety of gold jewelry. Later on in Rome the use of gold spread into household items and furniture of the upper and higher classes.

The Pre Columbian cultures had highly advanced skills in producing items of gold and this was long before the arrival of the Spanish. By the time the Spanish had arrived the Indian goldsmiths had mastered most of the techniques known by the Europeans. They were experts at granulation pressing, filigree and inlay and lost wax methods.

In the US in the frontier days the news of discovery of gold in a region could result in thousands of new settlers risking their lives to find gold. There were many gold rushes that occurred in the Western states. The most famous one was in California at Sutter's Mill in 1848.There were also gold rushes in other countries, including Australia, South Africa and Canada.

The gold standard was formed to stabilize the global economy. It dictated that a nation must limit its issued currency to the amount of gold it had held in reserve. In 1821 Great Britain was the first to adopt the gold standard and by the 1870's the rest of Europe had followed. The gold standard remained in effect until the end of WWI. After WWI 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. In the 1930's the great depression marked the end of the US exporting gold. The US dollar had replaced gold in international trade by the mid 20th century.

In 1986, the American Eagle Bullion program was launched with the sale of gold and silver bullion coins. In 1997 platinum was added to the American Eagle Bullion family. A bullion coin is guaranteed by the government to be of a specific weight and quality of a precious metal.

As you can see gold has been part of history throughout the ages and in many different cultures. Today gold is still highly coveted and used in fine jewelry and other decorative items. Gold is also used in many other products including computers and cell phones. Gold will play an intricate part of our history as well.
by Lawrence J. Reaves
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