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A Brief Look At The History of Gold

August 25, 2010187 view(s)

The first known use of gold is thought to have been in the 4th millennium; gold artifacts have been found in the Balkans in the Vama Necropolis. Further examples were found that dated from the second millennium as gold hats and discs began to appear in central Europe during the Bronze Age. There are many writings in Egyptian hieroglyphics that concern the use of gold dating as far back as 2600 B.C. During this time the current ruler King Tushratta declared that gold in Egypt was "more plentiful than dirt." In fact the entire area was considered to be one of the best gold producing areas of the world for many centuries. It was thought that this was the only area of the world to have this precious metal and that their proliferate use of gold led to very advanced gold working skills as can be seen on the many artifacts discovered in King Tutankhamen's tomb, the only tomb known to have survived intact.

As the Roman Empire began to expand they found that the use of gold attracted many talented artisans to Rome where gold was available in such quantity during the 3rd century AD that many of the upper class had entire items of furniture crafted entirely of gold as well as many every day household items. During this period of time, as the Christian religion spread across the European continent, citizens stopped burying their dead with all of their jewelry. As such, very few gold artifacts remain from this period. Long before the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas the Mayans and Inca were already exceptionally skilled as goldsmiths. The European invaders found that their goldsmiths had long since mastered the art of pressing and hammering patterns into gold objects and creating great detail with filigree work. They were also very adept at inlay and lost-wax casting.

The gold in South America was to be found in the Andes Mountains and Columbia. Sadly little of these works of art remain as the Spaniards melted them down to create their own works. During the mid to late 19th century the U.S. west coast saw its first Gold Rushes as settlers began to arrive in several of the western states. Thousands of settlers streamed in to these states seeking their fortune and while a few found it, many more lost their lives trying to defend what they had found. Today while the Gold Standard is no longer in use, savvy investors still prefer gold for a long term investment as its value continues to rise.

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