The Strange History of Gold

May 10, 2012

From the earliest civilizations to the 21st century, gold has been one of the most prized materials among human kind whether for fashion, health or engineering. While trends may come and go, gold always reflects a level of glamour and quality and because of this versatility it is incorporated into both modern and classic designs. But this majestic metal has been used in a greater (and more peculiar) variety of circumstances.

Some of the earliest examples of gold use come from Central Europe from the 2nd millennium BC such as the Nebra sky disc. This bronze disc is made of bronze and is inlaid with gold symbols believed to be the sun, the moon, the stars, and two arcs designating the angle between solstices.

Other Gold Firsts

– The first gold coins were believed to be introduced by the Lydians of Anatolia, Turkey approximately 700-550 BC.
– Gold was first recommended as a tooth filling in the 16th century.
– The first mention of gold in the United States was in Virginia in 1782. The first gold mine in the United States was at the Reed Gold Mine near Georgeville, North Carolina in 1799.
– The first Gold Record was awarded to Perry Como in 1958 for his recorded single “Catch a Falling Star.”

Gold coins from Anatolia. Turkey

Gold also has a long history of being used in medicine. The Egyptians in Alexandria 5,000 years ago used gold to develop potions and elixirs made of gold that would purify the body, cure all diseases, and restore health.

In Medieval Times, gold was frequently used in pill and liquid form to treat arthritis. There was also a drinkable form of gold that was consumed as a means to maintain youth and beauty. However, Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of the French king Henry II, found out the hard way that there is too much of a good thing. In the 16th century the French believed that gold possessed the powers of the sun, and so by drinking a solution of gold chloride and diethyl ether they would acquire those powers. When Diane de Poitiers body was exhumed in 2009, it was discovered that her hair contained high levels of gold. She probably died as a result of gold poisoning.

Today gold has been used in medicine in implants for the inner ear, wires for pacemakers, as an anti-inflammatory agent for arthritis, and even in some cancer treatments. And while Diane de Poitiers may have been going about it wrong, gold has been shown to slow down collagen depletion in aging skin and it stimulates the cellular growth in skin cells.

The highest concentration of gold on the planet today is in the ocean, but much of it is inaccessible. Two thirds of the gold mined today comes from the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa. However, the largest gold nugget ever discovered comes from Victoria, Australia. Known as the “Welcome Stranger” this nugget weighed 2,283 ounces and it was discovered by John Deason and Richard Oates in 1869. No matter the purpose, gold remains one of the most intriguing and versatile materials on Earth.

Established in 1912, the King family has owned and operated King Jewelers for five generations while building an outstanding reputation steeped in quality, value, and first-class service. Today, King Jewelers has brick-and-mortar stores located in Aventura, FL and Nashville, TN, both of which have won numerous regional and national awards of distinction. Offering a magnificent selection of fine jewelry collections including the hottest Italian designs, estate jewelry, colored gemstones and fancy-colored diamonds, as well as luxury European timepieces, King Jewelers prides itself in being one step ahead of the trend. In addition, King Jewelers offers on-site jewelry and watch repairs, custom design services, appraisals, estate buying, and corporate gift programs. For more information, visit


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