To illustrate how durable gold is, let’s follow a specific ounce of it on its journey through human history. While our timeline is a woven tale used to illustrate our point, each example is not.
- 3000 BCE Mined and formed into jewelry in Egypt
- 2900 BCE Sumer Civilization converted it to a golden calf head
- 2500 BCE Converted into a gold chain in the city of UR
- 2000 BCE Brought back to Egypt, pulled into thin wire and embroidered into a garment worn by a member of the Pharoah’s court
- 900 BCE Melted and formed into a tooth by a dentist
- 600 BCE Converted into a coin in Greece
- 100 BCE Melted and converted to a new coin in Rome
- 400 AD Transported by the Barbarians to Germany and encrusted with gemstones.
- 500-1200 Buried in a courtyard of a wealthy merchant’s property where it remained throughout the dark ages
- 1200 Discovered and converted to bullion, held by the Knights Templar
- 1307 Confiscated by the French when the Knights Templar were rounded up and executed
- 1599 Melted and poured down a Spanish governor’s throat during his execution.
- 1650 Transported to the Americas as part of a trade
- 1780 Brought to England by a returning soldier during the Revolutionary War as the spoils of war.
- 1915 Taken to Germany during WW1.
- 1942 Converted into wire, sewn into clothing worn by a family fleeing Hitler’s regime
- Today Melted and repurposed as a wedding ring for a lucky new bride.
It’s rather remarkable to think that the very same piece of gold that is on a bride’s finger today could have taken such a wild route through time to get there. We are not attempting to make a case for a return to a gold standard with this article, we just want to make it clear that in 1971, a major shift took place with our modern monetary system when the dollar’s link to gold officially died. Gold’s history as a “money” is a lot longer and more profound than most of us realize, as illustrated in this article. As a result of that 1971 move, there have been significant consequences, some of which dramatically change how we go about preserving our wealth today (and tomorrow). It’s one of the reasons we are forced to speculate with our savings. Burying our savings, and hoping we remember where it is, no longer works. Now we need to make it grow in order to simply maintain its purchasing power. But more on that next time.