The association between gold and the wealthy go back several thousand years, because of its scarcity, unique density, and how easy it is to fashion into objects ranging from jewellery to coins.
As far back as the Bible, gold coins have been used widely as currency but for this post, let’s take a deeper look at the history of gold and its relationship with human kind.
4,000 BC: First recorded gold use in jewellery and fancy decorative objects.
1,500 BC: As gold continued in its proliferation as jewellery, production methods advanced and became more complex. In 1,500 BC gold was formally recognized as a method of international trade. In the Middle East, the Shekel becomes a standard unit of measure originally weighing 11.3 grams per coin.
1,350 BC: Babylonians establish gold quality control by fire assay to test gold purity.
1,200 BC: Egyptians stretch the use of gold by mastering the art of flattening it into gold-leaf. The process allows gold owners to extend the use of their gold while giving impetus to the creation of various alloys to alter gold’s hardness and colour.
1,091 BC: Small squares of gold recognized in China as a form of standardised currency.
560 BC: First gold coins that are 100% pure gold minted in Lydia, which was a kingdom situated in Asia Minor.
344 BC: And so the wars to acquire gold begin; Alexander the Great brings 40,000 men to the first major recorded gold heist, seizing massive quantities of the yellow stuff from the Persian Empire.
300 BC: Now the counterfeits begin; as a side-product of early Jews and Greeks’ desire to use alchemy to turn worthless metal scraps into gold, many fake gold objects were passed around unbeknownst to their new owners.
50 BC: Romans get in on the gold currency action and issue their own, it was called the Aureus.
476 AD: Time passes, and the Roman Empire falls.
600 AD: Hundreds of years later the Byzantine Empire resumes gold mines that had been untouched since the Roman Empire mined them. Later that gold is plundered, and more wars ensued.
1284 AD: Venice introduces the Ducat, which is heralded as the most popular coin on the entire planet for over 5 centuries. Great Britain issues a “me too” coin called the Florin. Nobody cares. The florin is followed by the Angel, the Crown, and the Guinea.
In time all currencies dabbled with gold, including the US and Canada – however, it hasn’t changed much, as you can tell.
We still collect it, hoard it, fight over it, and kill for it. Oh, and it retains its value just as it always has.