Despite its unrivaled properties, gold is an inert material. It does nothing until man discovers it, mines and refines it and bends it to his will. So the history of gold is very much the history of civilization. Here are some points in time where that history was made.
c. 3600 BC First smelting of gold
Egyptian goldsmiths carry out the first melting or fusing of ores in order to separate the metals inside. They use blowpipes made from fire-resistant clay to heat the smelting furnace.
2600 BC Early gold jewellery
Goldsmiths of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) craft one of the earliest pieces of a burial headdress of lapis and carnelian beads with willow leaf-shaped gold pendants.
1200-1500 BC Advances in jewellery making
Artisans develop the lost-wax jewellery casting technique. The process allows for improved hardness and color variation which in turn broadens the market for gold products.
1223 BC Creation of Tutankhamun’s funeral mask
Instantly recognized the world over, the funeral mask of Tutankhamen is a triumph of gold craftsmanship from the ancient world.
950 BC Solomon builds gold temple
The Queen of Sheba from Yemen presents King Solomon of Israel with 2,500 kilos of gold, bringing the contents of his treasury to 5,700 kilos. Solomon uses part of his holdings to construct his famed temple, allegedly overlaid with gold.
600 BC First gold dentistry practiced
The first use of gold began as the Etruscans begin securing substitute teeth with gold wire. Bio-compatibility, malleability and corrosion resistance still make gold valuable in dental applications.
300 First gold nanoparticles
The Romans use gold to colour the Lycurgus Cup. Melting gold powder into glass diffuses gold nanoparticles throughout which then refract light, giving the glass a luminous red glow.
1300 Hallmarking practice established
The world’s first hallmarking system, scrutinizing and guaranteeing the quality of precious metal, is established at Goldsmith’s Hall in London – where London’s Assay Office is still located today.
1370 The Great Bullion Famine begins
During the years 1370-1420, various major mines around Europe become completely exhausted. Mining and production of gold declines sharply throughout the region in a period known as ‘The Great Bullion Famine’.
1511 Ferdinand unleashes invasion force
King Ferdinand of Spain proclaims “Get gold, humanely if you can, but at all hazards, get gold!”, launching unprecedented expeditions to the Americas. Within years, the Inca and Aztec civilizations would be virtually destroyed by Spanish conquerors.
1848 California Gold Rush begins
John Marshall discovers gold flakes while building a sawmill near Sacramento, California. The greatest gold rush of all time follows as 40,000 diggers flock to California from around the World.
1885 South African Gold Rush begins
While digging up stones to build a house, Australian miner George Harrison finds gold ore on Langlaagte farm near Johannesburg. Miners flock to the region. South Africa will go on to become the source of 40% of the world’s gold.
1870-1900 Adoption of gold standard
All major countries other than China switch to the gold standard, linking their currencies to gold. The practice of bimetallism is abandoned.
1925 Gold standard returns
The UK returns to the gold standard at pre-war parity of $4.86=£1 with sterling convertible to gold at 77sh 10.5d per standard ounce. This follows the country’s departure from the gold standard six years previously at the outbreak of World War I.
1933 Roosevelt suspends gold
President Roosevelt suspends US dollar convertibility to gold (gold at US$20.67/oz). The export of all transactions in, and the holding of gold by private individuals, is forbidden. Presidential proclamation makes the dollar convertible again in January 1934 at a new price of $35 per troy ounce.
1939 World War II closes gold market
The London gold market is closed on the outbreak of war, as at the beginning of World War II. The world will later return to a fixed system of exchange rates, this time with currencies fixed to the dollar and the dollar convertible into gold.
1944 Bretton Woods conference
The Bretton Woods conference sets the basis of the post-war monetary system. The US dollar is set to maintain a $35=1 oz gold conversion rate. Other currencies are fixed in terms of US dollar, thus forming a Gold Exchange Standard.
1961 First gold bonded microchips
Gold bonding wire is used in microchips engineered at Bell Labs in the USA. Nowadays literally billions of chips are bonded this way every year, controlling all manner of indispensible electrical devices.
1961 First gold in space
The first manned space flight uses gold to protect sensitive instruments from radiation. In 1980, 41kgs of gold is included in space shuttle construction through brazing alloys, fuel cell fabrication and electrical contacts.
1967 First South African Krugerrand
The Krugerrand is introduced in 1967, as a vehicle for private ownership of gold. This iconic coin is actually intended for circulation as currency.
1971 Gold window closed
The Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates comes to an end as President Nixon “closes the gold window”, suspending US dollar convertibility to gold. The world enters its present day system of floating exchange rates.
1985 First gold-based arthritis treatment
Pharmaceutical giant, SmithKline & French, develops Auranofin, a gold-based drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The drug receives regulatory approval and goes on sale for the first time.
1999 First Central Bank Gold Agreement
The First Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA) is agreed. 15 European central banks declare that gold will remain an important element of their reserves and collectively cap gold sales at 400 tonnes per year over next five years.
2001First gold used in heart surgery
Boston Scientific markets the first gold-plated stent (Niroyal) used in heart surgery. Inserted inside large arteries and veins, such stents act like scaffolding, propping open the blood vessels to allow adequate flow.
2003 K-gold launched in China
The World Gold Council creates an entirely new market segment with the launch of K-gold, the first 18k jewellery in China. The jewellery, in predominantly white and yellow gold, takes its inspiration from Italian design.
2009 Central banks return to buying
In the second quarter of the year, central banks collectively become net purchasers of gold for the first time in two decades. This reflects a combination of slowing sales from European banks and growing purchases by emerging market countries.
2010 – 2011 Gold price sustains record highs
Fiat currencies are undermined by inflation fears and successive financial crises. The London pm fix achieves 35 separate successive highs in the year to date.
2011 Gold in catalytic converters
Gold used in catalytic convertors by a leading European diesel car manufacturer. The first use of gold in automotive emissions control.
To Your Success,
Net Working Marketer
P.S. If you want to learn a simple step by step way to build a list, an online presence, and make money from social media, click here to learn about the only government approved way to make money on Facebook. (You will need to authorize the app to be able to see the presentation on Facebook)