History of Gold Jewelry
The history of gold jewelry dates back thousands of years. As one of the most cherished and prized metals around the world, it is no wonder gold has a past full of interesting facts. Let's take a closer look at the history of gold jewelry.
The earliest occurrences of humans coming into contact with the metal were never recorded. The earliest record of gold was during the first Egyptian empire around 3200 B.C., when it was used as part of a bartering system for payment of goods and services. This means that by that time, gold was already seen as a high-value item that was worth more than other metals. Gold was only going to increase in value throughout these early stages of history. In fact, the oldest treasure map ever found dates back to 1320 B.C. and has several locations marked as sources for gold. These pieces of gold that fueled the obsession with the metal were not what you think of today in terms of jewelry or even gold coins. They were most likely chunks of the metal similar to rocks, but their value would only continue to grow.
The history of gold jewelry is closely tied to Egypt. While Europeans were creating the earliest metal jewelry out of copper, the Egyptians preferred the luster of gold. The ancient Egyptians had metal workers that designed extravagant and elaborate jewelry for the royalty of the region. These pieces were often worn as a tradition at special events. They were so important to the wearer, royalty was buried in their finest pieces of gold jewelry as an offering to the gods. While the Egyptians certainly made gold famous with their intricate designs, displays of wealth, and traditions surrounding the wearing of these accessories, they were not the first to use gold in jewelry. Around 5,000 years ago, Mesopotamians were the first to create jewelry with gold and many Egyptian pieces have influences from the styles used by this early civilization.
When the gold rush of 1849 hit in California, gold had already been around in America for some time. While the California gold rush was certainly the most profitable with an estimated 2 billion in profits, it was only one part of our obsession with gold. The gold rush phenomenon became a race to mine as much gold as possible and attracted the wealthy and poor alike. The other gold rush refers to any instance where a discovery of gold leads to an influx of people in large groups to try to capture some of the gold for their own profit. There have been several gold rushes in America. The mines would eventually be shut down, but not before changing the way Americans viewed this precious metal. Gold would become more and more common in jewelry while still retaining a high value.
Gold jewelry today is still a prized possession. In fact, gold is one of the most consistent things to invest in because it is a hedge against inflation. Gold is unlikely to ever go out of style thanks to the way it is ingrained in cultures around the world.