The exact history of how society discovered the gold element is still one of life’s great mysteries. Due to a lack of archaeological evidence, it’s still debated who was the first person to discover gold and where it was exactly first encountered, but most historians agree the element was discovered around 40,000 BC and immediately became a standard for beauty.
The natural beauty and brilliance immediately became a huge part of society. Because of its hard resistance to tarnish and destruct, gold became an interesting asset for many hobbyists who could mold the element into finer goods like jewelry.
Gold has always been a symbol of power, wealth and beauty. This is why it is quite easy to see that the use of gold in history has always been common with royalty. Some civilizations held gold equal with Gods and it was offered as glory to the rulers. Even today, gold is a powerful metal and a symbol of wealth and well being. One can point to jewelry, gold watches, and other consumable products that use the gold reputation to exude confidence and class. Humans have always placed a high value in the metal and today the investment of gold is considered one of the most secure investments. It’s also worth nothing that many sales techniques include using “gold” as the moniker for the most luxurious or high-priced product.
Gold’s unique density, beauty and scarcity and the ease of melting the element helped shape it’s value in society. The first use of gold as money occurred in around 700B.C in Lydia. The merchants there were the first to come up with coins made up with gold and silver. The coins of that time simply had 63% of gold and 27% of silver mixed together. This mixture was commonly referred to as electrum. The gold coins helped Lydian merchants gain massive success and even today they are remembered as successful and rich.
Greece was the next area of the world where gold started to become popular. The Greeks widely used gold and silver as coins to trade and conduct business. Greeks had mined gold throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean, making them a rich civilization. Greeks also spent years on researching the habits of mining gold. They found many different practices of mining gold, this is why upon the death of Alexander of Macedon, the Greeks had already mined gold all the way from Asia to Egypt. The mines left behind by ancient Greece can still be found throughout the regions. Most mines were owned by the state with some privately owned and managed by royalty.
After the era of Greece, gold mining was perfected by the Romans. Throughout their reign, the mighty Roman Empire had already learned advance methods of mining gold, allowing them to mine gold throughout the region they held with ease. Though their methods were effective, it did require significant man power, which is why the Roman Empire was known to send thousands of prisoners of war and slaves to work in the mines.
To this day, gold’s reputation and role in commerce is still growing. While consumer-to-consumer trade isn’t common as a financial instrument, the consumption of gold is increasing as financial markets face uncertainty and many investment advisors are preaching commodities such as precious metals. Roughly 50% of gold is produced as jewelry and 40% serves the purpose of investments. The remaining 10% can be accounted for in industrial use. Most gold used in industry is subject to recovery and recycling, but in only few instances such as the use of gold in electronic equipment and spacecrafts has led to the loss of metal.
Today, India is the largest consumer of the precious metal and nearly 25% of all gold produced in the world is bought by Indians. India uses gold mostly in jewelry and is considered to have purchased nearly 800 tons of gold each year.
With its scarcity and rarity, gold has become increasingly difficult to obtain and prices of the metal continue to escalate to new heights. For this very reason, many people are using gold as an investment vehicle.
The World Gold Council is a great resource to learn more about how gold was discovered, it’s use in commerce, and it also provides a look at how gold is governed in society and trade.
This website will continue to document the developments of the highly popular precious metal and act as an informational resource for anyone looking to use gold as an investment vehicle.