Gold: With a striking, bright-yellow, luminescent sheen, gold has been declared a timeless, dignified element found in nature, due to the fact that gold has many uses, including the strength and durability to withstand corrosion. Thus, gold is not only a stable element but is a life-long, dependable investment.
It is believed that the multiple uses of gold was discovered during the Bronze Age, when gold had been used for religious and mechanical, as well as, for social- standing purposes. Since Gold can be alloyed with other materials/metals, its use only expanded and innovation flourished as using gold as an alloy.
Gold from 4500 BC was found in the Bulgarian city of Varna in 1972, as well as throughout many other regions in Central Europe dating back to the second millennium BC. Famous examples are the Golden Hat (390 g of gold) of Schifferstadt, Germany (around 1,400-1,300 BC) and the Nebra Sky Disc from around 1,600 BC.
From Germany to Egypt, Asia Minor to the Roman Empire, gold has always been an integral part of social functionality, power and lust for war - for these reasons, humans have historically exploited gold deposits worldwide and craved the adornment of golden medallions. An instance of this would be in the tale of the seafaring Greek Argonauts on a mission for the Golden Fleece of Colchis.
In religious texts, such as the Torah, reference is made to the construction of the Golden Calf by the Israelites as a tribute to Moses during his absence while receiving the Ten Commandments. Also, the Three Wise Men bearing gifts of gold for the birth of baby Jesus as mentioned in the New Testament (see Matthew's Gospel, chapter 2, verse 11).
During the early first millennium, the regions of South America and Mesoamerica were heavily mined for gold. For example, the Moche civilization that flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD used an alloy known as Tumbago (gold and copper mixture) for gilding and producing religious relics for ritual purposes, and sometimes these relics would consist of several kilograms of gold.
The greed for gold has inspired many expeditions transcending internationally over thousands of years. One great example of this is in the journeys of Christopher Columbus throughout South America, Central America and North America. His systematic looting of gold while conquering these lands enabled him to send multiple gold-bearing galleons back to Spain, thus contributing greatly to the wealth and influence of the Spanish Kingdom, but sadly resulted in the destruction of many indigenous cultures.
During the 19th century, the world was introduced to the Gold Rush Era, where mass movements of adventurous crowds descended upon lands spanning continents, determined to find gold within the foretold gold-rich soil. Examples of the Gold Rushes are the Californian gold rush in 1849, the Klondike River in Alaska 1897, Australia (Bathurst, Temora, Teetulpa and Coolgardie) and South Africa (Witwatersrand). To this day, gold is still being found in the Yukon regions of Alaska.
Today’s price of gold is constantly fluctuating and has resulted in social turmoil and large-scale population-depletions, as depicted in the Brazilian Amazon regions, where the informal mining of gold by Garimpeiros has impacted the areas with serious social and ecological consequences.