Timeline of Gold

 

  

4000 BC

Gold is first known to be used in parts of Central and Eastern Europe.

3000 BC

The Egyptians master the arts of beating gold into leaf and alloying gold with other metals to achieve variations in hardness and color. They also develop the ability to cast gold, using the lost-wax technique still used in today's jewelry industry.
The Sumer civilization of southern Iraq uses gold to create a wide range of jewelry, often using sophisticated and varied styles still worn today.

2500 BC

Gold jewelry is buried in the Tomb of Djer, the king of the first Egyptian dynasty, at Abydos, Egypt.

1500 BC

The immense, gold-bearing regions of Nubia make Egypt a wealthy nation, as gold becomes the recognized standard medium of exchange for international trade.
The Shekel, a coin originally weighing 11.3 grams of gold, is used as a standard unit of measure throughout the Middle East. The coin contained a naturally occurring alloy called electrum, which was approximately two-thirds gold and one-third silver.

1352 BC

The young Egyptian King Tutankhamen is interred in a pyramid tomb laden with gold, his remains laid in an extravagant gold anthropoid sarcophagus.

1350 BC

The Babylonians begin to use fire assay to test the purity of gold.

1091 BC

Squares of gold are legalized in China as a form of money.

560 BC

The first coins made purely from gold are minted in Lydia, a kingdom of Asia Minor.

58 BC

Julius Caesar seizes enough gold in Gaul (France) to repay Rome's debts.

50 BC

The Romans issue a gold coin called the Aureus.

600-699 AD

The Byzantine Empire resumes gold mining in central Europe and France, an area undeveloped since the fall of the Roman Empire. Artisans of the period produce intricate gold artifacts and icons.

1100

1100 Venice secures its position as the world's leading gold bullion market due to its location astride the trade routes to the east.

1284

Venice introduces the gold Ducat, which soon becomes the most popular coin in the world, and remains so for more than five centuries.
Great Britain issues its first major gold coin, the Florin, which is followed by the Noble, the Angel, the Crown, and the Guinea.

1511

King Ferdinand of Spain sends explorers to the Western Hemisphere with the command to "get gold."

1717

Isaac Newton, Master of the London Mint, sets price of gold that lasts for 200 years.

1787

First US gold coin is struck by Ephraim Brasher, a goldsmith.

1792

The Coinage Act places the young United Sates on a bimetallic silver/gold standard, defining the U.S. Dollar as equivalent to 24.75 grains of fine gold, and 371.25 grains of fine silver.

1803

North Carolina site of first US gold rush. The state supplies all the domestic gold coined for currency by the US Mint in Philadelphia until 1828.

1848

The California gold rush begins when James Marshall finds specks of gold in the water at John Sutter's sawmill near the junction of the American and Sacramento Rivers.

1850

Edward Hammond Hargraves, returning from California, predicts he will find gold in Australia within one week. He discovers gold in New South Wales within one week of landing.

1859

The Comstock Lode of gold and silver is discovered in Nevada. As a result, Nevada is made a state five years later.

1886

George Harrison, while digging stones to build a house, discovers gold in South Africa.

1887

Glasgow doctors, Robert and William Forrest, and chemist John S. MacArthur patent the process for extracting gold from ore using cyanide.

1896

Two prospectors discover gold while fishing in the Klondike River in northern Canada, richer finds were rumored farther south in Alaska's Yukon, spawning the Alaska Gold Rush in 1898 - the last gold rush of the century.

1900

US adopts the gold standard for its currency.

1903

The Engelhard Corporation introduces an organic medium to print gold on surfaces. First used for decoration, the medium becomes the foundation for microcircuit printing technology.

1922

King Tutankhamen's tomb (1352 BC) opened to reveal a 2,448 lb. gold coffin and hundreds of gold and gold-leafed objects.

1927

A Medical study in France proves gold to be valuable in treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis.

1933

President Franklin D. Roosevelt bans the export of gold, halts the convertibility of dollar bills into gold, orders US citizens to hand in all the gold they possess and establishes a daily price for gold.

1934

Roosevelt fixes price of gold at $35 per ounce.

1935

Western Electric Alloy #1 (69% gold, 25% silver and 6% platinum) finds universal use in all switching contacts for AT&T telecommunications equipment.

1944

The Bretton Woods agreement sets an international gold exchange standard and creates two new international organizations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Band. The new standard sets par values for currencies in terms of gold and obligates member countries to convert foreign official holdings of their currencies into gold at these par values.

1947

The first transistor, the building block for electronics, is assembled at AT&T Bell Laboratories. The device uses gold contacts pressed into a germanium surface.

1960

The laser is invented using gold-coated mirrors to maximize infrared reflection.

1961

Modern-day mining begins in Nevada's Carlin Trend, ultimately making Nevada the nation's largest gold-mining state.

1968

Intel introduces a microchip with 1,024 transistors connected by gold circuits.
On March 15, central banks give up fixed price of gold at $35 per troy ounce and let it free float.

1969

Gold coated visors protect the astronauts' eyes from searing sunlight on the moon (Apollo 11 moon landing).

1970

The charged coupled device is invented, using gold to collect electrons generated by light, eventually used in hundreds of military and civilian devices, including video cameras.

1971

The colloidal gold marker system is introduced by Amersham Corporation of Illinois. Tiny spheres of gold are used in health research laboratories worldwide to mark or tag specific proteins to reveal their function in the human body for the treatment of disease.

1973

The U.S. Dollar is removed from gold standard, and gold prices are allowed to float free. By June, the market for gold in London reaches more than $120 per ounce.

1974

On December 31, US government ends its ban on individual ownership of gold.

1976

The Gold Institute is established in Washington, D.C., to promote the common interests of the gold industry by providing statistical data and other relevant information to its members, the media, government, and the public.

1980

Gold reaches intra-day historic high price of $870 on January 21 in New York.

1986

Gold-coated compact discs are introduced.

1987

Airbags are introduced for cars, using gold contacts for reliability.

1996

The Mars Global Surveyor is launched with an on-board gold-coated parabolic telescope-mirror that will generate a detailed map of the entire Martian surface over a two-year period.

1997

Congress passes Taxpayers Relief Act, allowing US Individual Retirement Account holders to buy gold bullion coins and bars for their accounts as long as they are of a fineness equal to, or exceeding, 99.5 percent gold.

1999

The Euro, a pan-European currency, is introduced, backed by a new European Central Bank holding 15 percent of its reserves in gold.

2000

Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii use the giant gold-coated mirrors of the observatory's twin telescopes to produce the most detailed images of Neptune and Uranus ever captured.