The History of Gold


It is quite astonishing that we remain so interested in gold when it was first discovered over five thousand years ago. For millennia, we have been enamored with this shiny yellow metal, mining it, shaping it, and trading it. Its value is immortalized in the saying that ‘not all that glitters is gold’.

We are almost halfway into 2016 and people are still clamoring over the rising and declining prices of gold. It is impressive to see that after all this time, we still rely on one of the world’s oldest currencies. It appears that despite technological advances and digital tendencies, some things simply are too precious to let go.

It was not always used as currency, however. Prior to trading it or placing wagers with the metal, gold was actually used for decorative purposes. This yellow metal was used to fashion tombs, decorative pieces, artifacts in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece. The malleability, beauty, and durability of gold were just some of the reasons that the nobleman from these bygone eras choose to invest in the metal.

Gambling has now evolved and many people tend to opt for online casinos and casino games to place bets. This allows people to partake in these activities from the comfort of their homes. Many modern casino games such as online poker, however, had their humble beginnings with gold as well. Back when there were no poker chips (real or virtual), players resorted to using pieces of jagged gold.

Another reason that gold was one of the earliest mined metals was because it tends to occur in its natural form. It usually does not combine with other elements. It appears that the Middle East was among the first sources for gold. The Egyptian pharaohs relied on the mines present near the Red Sea and in the Nubian Desert. Once these mines were unable to produce any more gold, the pharaohs probably turned their attention to the mines in Yemen and Africa.

Importance of Gold

As mentioned, gold was not first used as a currency. Rather, it was a symbol of nobility and divinity. Perhaps due to its resilience, the yellow metal was associated with immortality. Gold was accumulated for individuals of great power or for deities. Nobleman fashioned the metal into jewelry and other important furnishings. It was also used for religious purposes and was forged into idols and used to decorate sacred areas. The Incas, in particular, believed that it was the sweat from the Sun God and so was used to create all their religious relics.

Even before it was used as a form of currency, gold was considered immensely desirable. People made great efforts to find it and searched far and wide. When the sources were discovered, criminals and slaves were sent into the mines to retrieve it.

Gold as Currency

Gold coins were probably first used by King Croesus of Lydia, in Asia Minor. This is now a part of modern Turkey. These coins were almost entirely gold unlike the other electrum coins that were used. Electrum was a mixture of both silver and gold. Between 561-546 BC, King Croesus was responsible for this purer coins being created. They had images stamped onto them, similar to modern day coins. The Greek and Roman empires later also took up the tradition of creating and trading gold coins although silver coins remained more popular.

In all these years, gold has not dimmed in its brilliance or its importance. It is as vital to us today as it was all those years ago. It seems as though gold really has stood the test of time.

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