We have evidence that there was a gold/silver ratio as far back 3100 B.C. in the code of Menes who is the founder of the first Egyptian Dynasty. This code states that one part of gold equals two and one-half parts of silver. This is the earliest example of a value relationship between silver and gold.
Gold is Discovered
First discovered was gold in shining, yellow nuggets. According to the old saying, “Gold is what you find,” and it was found in its natural state in streams around the globe, gold. It was, without doubt, the first known metal to early hominids. Every culture has included gold. Its brilliance and natural beauty combined with its luster made it a pleasure to work with and to play with.
Around the time Seti I (1320 B.C.) was born in ancient Egypt. The first known gold treasure map was created in ancient Egypt, around the time of Seti I (1320 B.C.). Today, the Turin Museum houses a papyrus with fragments that are known as the “Carte des mines d’or”. It depicts gold mines, miners’ quarters and roads leading to them.
The Origin of Gold
Gold is widely distributed throughout the geologic globe, so its discovery was possible for many groups from many locations. Nearly everyone who discovered it was impressed by it and the emerging culture in which it lived.
Our species was first to be exposed to gold. We consider the technological advancements of the past as the most significant contributions to our species’ cultural and economic progress. However, the discovery of copper-working and iron are the two greatest contributions. But gold was first.
The easiest metal to work with is gold. It is almost pure and easily workable, while most other metals are found in ore-bodies that make it difficult to smelt. Gold was used in its early days for ornamental purposes. Its brilliance, durability (it does not corrode nor tarnish) also linked it with royalty and deities in the early civilizations.
The power of gold has been a constant. Although we have lost much of the history of human contact with gold, many cultures around the globe associate it with the gods, immortality, and wealth.
Gold as a Symbol of Power and Wealth
Gold was associated with rulers and gods in early civilizations. Gold was used to honor them and their names. Gold is a cultural icon that humans intuitively value. It is associated with beauty, power, and the elite. This is because gold is ubiquitously distributed around the world, so we see this same thought about gold in all modern and ancient civilizations.
Beauty, power, and gold have always been inseparable. In ancient times, gold was used to make idols, shrines, cups (“the Golden Calf”) and other vessels. Also, it was used in jewelry and ornamentation.
Excavated in Turkey, the “Gold of Troy” treasure collection shows the variety of gold-work, from delicate jewelry to a full troy pound of gold gravy boats. It was a time in which gold was valued highly, but not yet money. It was instead owned by the wealthy and well-connected.
Humans have always valued gold, even before money. It is evident by the extraordinary efforts required to get it. Prospecting for gold is a global effort that dates back thousands of years. It was even possible before the introduction of money in the form gold coins.
The Phoenicians, Egyptians. Hittites. Chinese. and other nations were all on a quest for gold. Prisoners of war, slaves, and criminals were sent to the mines. This was at a time gold wasn’t considered money, but was a valuable commodity.
All over the globe, gold’s ‘value was recognized. As in ancient times, gold’s intrinsic appeal appeal appeals to all people today. How did gold become a commodity and a unit of measureable value?
Gold becomes Currency
Money is gold when it’s measured out. Because of its beauty, scarcity and unique density, gold is a natural trading medium. The concept of money was born out of gold: it is portable, permanent, and private. Barter arrangements were replaced by gold (and silver), and standardized coins made it much easier to trade during the Classic period.
In ancient Greece, gold was considered money. By 550 B.C., the Greeks had begun to mine for gold in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Plato and Aristotle both wrote about gold and held theories about its origins. It was thought that gold was closely associated with water, as most of its content was found in streams.
The Properties of Gold
The most malleable metal is gold. It can be drawn into wires of one-atom width and stretched before it breaks. These nanowires can distort through formation, reorientation, and migration of crystal twins and dislocations. They are not noticeable hardening. A single gram can be ground into a 1 m2 (11 sq ft) sheet, and an avoirdupois-ounce into 300 ft (28 m2). Semi-transparent gold leaf can be made by pounding it thin enough. Because gold strongly reflects red and yellow light, the transmitted light appears greenish-blue. These semi-transparent sheets are also good at reflecting infrared light. They can be used as shields against heat-resistant suits’ visors and sun-visors for spacesuits.  The conductor of heat, electricity and gold is excellent.
Gold is found in rocks formed since the Precambrian period.  Most often, it is a native metal. Typically, it is found in a metal solid solution containing silver (i.e. It can also be used in a gold/silver combination. These alloys typically have a silver content between 8-10%. Electrum, also known as white gold, is an elemental form of gold that contains more than 20% silver. Electrum can range in color from silvery to golden-silver depending on its silver content. Specific gravity is lower for silver content.
Although their science was primitive, the Greeks were able to learn much about the practicalities and mechanics of gold mining. Alexander of Macedon died in 323 B.C. The Greeks had already mined gold from the Pillars of Hercules in Gibraltar, all the way to Asia Minor and Egypt by the time of Alexander of Macedon’s death (323 B.C. Some mines belonged to the state while others were privately owned and paid a royalty. Nomads like the Scythians or Cimmerians also worked in placer mines throughout the region. Both the Scythian jewelry and the Greek gold coins that are still surviving show exceptional artistry.
The Roman Empire was a major contributor to the search for gold. The Roman Empire was a major gold miner, and greatly advanced the science of mining. They used water streams to mine hydraulically and constructed sluices as well as the first long toms.’ In order to extract the gold from the rock, they also introduced water-wheels to help with the mining process. They were able extract more from old mine-sites and their main laborers were prisoners, slaves, or convicts.
Gold Stands the Test of Time
The world economy was possible because of a monetary standard. The idea of money (i.e. gold and silver in standard-weight and fineness coins) enabled the world’s economies to grow and prosper. In the Classic period of Greek-Roman rule in the west, silver and gold were both exported to India for spices and China for silk. The Empire’s height (A.D.98-160) saw the rise of Roman gold and silver coins. Its name was “gold”.