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Archive for the ‘Jewellery – G’ Category

In the previous three blogs I have spoken about the history of gold and its use for different purposes. Of course one of the key and most fundamental uses of currency in addition to being used for jewellery is money.

Now what I want to focus on who first used gold for monetary purposes.

Nobody knows for sure.

It has traditionally been said a group of people known as the Lydians around 2,600 years ago. In particular the name of one King Croesus has frequently been mentioned and a “coin” during his reign.

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“Coin” during the time of King Croesus.

The Lydians were a people that lived in a part of what is now the modern day republic of Turkey. Being an Indo-European race they were distant cousins of the ancient Greeks and of course most other Europeans.

Map of the kingdom of Lydia.

Map of the kingdom of Lydia.

The capital of this kingdom was Sardis now in western Turkey where even today you can go to see the ruins of this once powerful civilization and race.

sardis

Ruins on the site of what was once the city of Sardis in the Manisa district of Turkey, in addition to Lydian ruins there are Roman ruins in the area too.

Anyway it is said that when the Lydian ruler, King Croesus, was defeated by the Persians and captured by them the Persians, a regional superpower at that time decided to use gold for their coins.

croesus

An Athenian vase showing an image of King Croesus.

Image source.

Howevers some dispute whether the Lydian “coins” were in fact coins for monetary purposes rather than being coins for commemorative and ceremonial purposes. None of these Lydian “coins” contain any writing or any symbol to signify the Lydian state, but in fact contain images of animals, a brooch belonging to King Croesus was also carved in the shape of an animal, a sea horse.

Lydian sea horse

A brooch in the form of a sea horse belonging to the Lydian monarch, King Croesus.

Image source.

However no one can say for sure that the “coins” found in what was one the kingdom of Lydia are indeed gold coins used as money. In addition to the Lydians in what is now Turkey the ancient Chinese too used gold coins it is estimated at around 2,500 years ago, called the “Ying Yuan” coins.

An ancient Chinese Ying Yuan coin.

An ancient Chinese Ying Yuan coin.

Image source.

The ancient Indians did too.

Some of the other famous ancient civilizations that did not use gold include the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians: It is said the Egyptians used barter as well as grain and jewellery, including gold, later on in their history. As for the ancient Babylonians their currency was the “shekel” which was mainly silver coins.

So no one can be sure who first used gold coins for money. It may have been one of the Greek kingdoms close to Lydia or another ancient civilization whose coins we have not discovered yet. However the first ancient civilization to indisputably use gold coins are the ancient Chinese and to be more precise a state from south of the Yellow River, the state of Chu.

yellow-river-delta-marshland5

 

China’s famous Yellow River.

Image source.

– Jahan Choudhry

 

 

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This is the third part in a series on the history of gold.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

Gold has been with us for thousands of years. We have already seen in the previous articles that gold is used for self-adornment in the form of jewellery which serves visual purposes of beautification, and more practical uses when it is used for medical purposes such as to treat arthritis, cancer and other medical problems.

Gold is more omnipresent than we think as it is used in electronic products including the different cell phones that most of us use. By this I do not mean the external cases or frames of cell phone handsets but rather internal components.

gold 8800 - box

A Nokia cell phone handset made out of gold.

Image source.

These internal components of cell phones include such things as switches, connectors and so forth.

connectors

 

Connectors.

Image source.

Many modern cellphones are in effect nothing more than mini-computers and are far more advanced than computers not only of the 1950s and 60s but even as recently as the 1990s so it is no surprise to know that gold is used for electrical purposes in computers and laptops including in the CPU and motherboard.

intel

A heavily golden computer CPU chip.

 

Image source.

gold motherboard

 

A computer motherboard consisting of gold.

Image source.

In addition to this gold is used in aerospace technology, construction of buildings, glassmaking and other sectors.

 

Conclusion

So gold is much more than a material for a person to look more beautiful but has many other purposes and serves many other important functions including in, our ever more digitalized and IT-based world, cell phones and computers.  As far as current knowledge shows us the earliest use of gold was in the middle east thousands of years ago. Did the workmen who first make the golden jewellery of the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamia ever realize that the metal that they were using would one day be used for such a diversity of different functions.

 

– Jahan Choudhry

 

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In a previous article (click here to read) I gave a brief overview of the history of gold. In this article I will continue by talking about the other uses of gold in addition to it being used for personal adornment and beautification.

Gold for medicine

Believe it or not gold is used for medical purposes. It is claimed that it was used by the ancient Chinese as far back as 2,500 B.C. for a number of different illnesses such as smallpox,skin ulcers and measles. Further south in another part of Asia, the ancient Indians also used gold in their Ayurvedic treatments.

gold-facial

Gold used in a facial something which is practised in Ayurvedic medicine. In India even today facial kits made of gold are sold.

Image source.

It is also used to treat arthritis. It is often done by way of injections which can take quite a few months, but there are even creams.

arthritis_header

Image source.

It can also be used to treat types of cancer including prostrate cancer, and in the past few days two companies, Cytlmmune and AstraZeneca announced that they would work together to collaborate on developing nanoparticles to treat cancer. Radioactive gold particles are also used in some green teas to help treat cancer.

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Radioactive gold particles are used in some green teas to help treat cancer.

Image source.

Gold is used in artificial implants as it reduces the chances of being infected with bacteria. Many other implants cannot be used by some people because the material which they are produced from is more susceptible to being affected by bacteria, whereas that is not the case with gold which is far more bacteria resistant.

Gold is used for pregnancy testing including kits which can be bought in shops.

So from some of the examples above we can see that gold in addition to merely having pleasing aesthetic qualities and used by people to beautify either themselves or their possessions has very practical applications even in the field of human health. It has been used since very ancient times by civilizations such as the ancient Chinese and also the Indians and its medical usage is expanding with more research and technology being carried out to treat other medial problems and illnesses. So health-wise it has been used in the past and will be used in the future.

In my next article I will continue to talk about other uses of gold.

– Jahan Choudhry

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