Gold is everything, especially in movies. It’s glamorous. It’s expensive. Taylor Swift eats it for breakfast, probably. Personally, I’ve never put my hands on it, so I’ve never really understood the hype.
I’ve always wondered: why has gold always been so valuable?
Gold became valuable in the later Bronze Age, when it was used as a trading medium. It was seemingly more valuable than tin and copper, and pretty soon, gold became the standard. In the centuries since, gold has remained a status symbol all over the world.
In this article, you’ll learn more about how gold became so valuable to begin with, as well as the circumstances that have allowed it to stay that way.
Read on to learn more about gold and the reasons why it’s so valuable and almost always guarded by dragons in the movies.
Read too: Will Gold Become Worthless?
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Why Has Gold Always Been So Valuable?
Gold being valuable seems so random. Why gold, and not like, sticks or cookies or something? Gold has always been so valuable because it can be used to trade.
Unlike other options like copper or tin, gold is rare enough that, even though you could probably find a gold coin relatively easily, not everybody had them and not every miner could find gold.
However, supply and demand have also played a role in gold’s value. Gold is timeless. Other things might tend to become less coveted over time, like spices or tea.
Once, people fought wars over them, but now, anybody of any social status probably has some of the most “exclusive” spices or teas in their cupboard.
Gold, however, is still somewhat hard to find, which makes it not only valuable, but alluring.
Why was gold so coveted?
Gold was used as a currency, but it was also popular for art. Wealthy people would pay for statues that were made with gold. For example, in Egypt, gold statues were often used in religious rituals, as offerings.
Since gold was so hard to get, many considered it the perfect offering for whatever kind of religious figure they worshipped at the time.
However, from a pretty early stage, many were using gold to make jewelry. Gold jewelry was, and largely still is, a symbol of wealth.
Often adorned with diamonds and other precious jewels, people were willing to pay obscene amounts in currency or other trades to own it.
And, as we know about how the economy works, as supply and demand began to shift, so did the price point. Since its first use thousands of years ago, gold has become a symbol of wealth and fortune.
Throughout the years, it has stayed that way largely due to the media.
Is gold really as valuable as we think it is?
Money isn’t real. Nothing is. So, why are we paying thousands of dollars for gold? Gold is so valuable because it’s hard to find, basically, and stuff that’s hard to find quickly becomes more expensive.
Like Taylor Swift’s Folklore cardigan, which you could buy for $65 on her website when it came out, but now, you’re going to be hard pressed to find one for less than $300, no matter how much you beg.
The FRED Museum has a real, solid gold bar that is worth anywhere from $600,000 to $650,000 (the bar weighs in at around 28 pounds).
However, like everything else, the price of gold does fluctuate. Gold is not immune to inflation, like some people might think it is.
Gold Has a Long History
Phrases like “I struck gold!” are often used when someone finds something they love, or something that’s worth a lot of money.
Gold has a long history of “making people rich,” especially in America. Gold is valuable in the US because it can be used for minting and such, but it’s also a massive piece of American history as a whole.
The California Gold Rush has inspired several movies, like The Gold Rush starring Charlie Chaplin. The Klondike Gold Rush, which took place in Canada about 40 years after California’s gold rush, inspired movies like The Call of the Wild, based on Jack London’s famous novel.
Cheesy, old-timey western gold rush movies are fun to watch, but they also provide a lot of insight into a different reason why gold might be so valuable: it represented hope.
During the gold rush(es), hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the same place in hope of making a better life for themselves and their families.
The truth is that only a small portion of them actually “got rich,” but it still gave them hope.
Source of Propaganda
The idea that you could make a new life for yourself in America was not something people just thought of themselves.
Though the gold rushes were in the 1800s and the term “American Dream” wasn’t coined until the 1930s, the American Dream itself was still very much alive.
There were many ads that advertised an abundance of gold in the US, including:
This, again, plays into inflation. As more and more people began to flock to the areas where gold was abundant, more gold was found.
By the end of the California Gold Rush, there was an estimated 750,000 pounds of gold found. So, with 750,000 pounds of gold, there was a large supply, and a lot of demand.
This allowed the price of gold to spike.
Has Gold Become More Valuable?
Gold has definitely risen in value all over the world. In the US, the official price of gold rose from $20.67 per ounce in 1834 to $35 in 1934: a 69% increase.
Since then, the price of gold has and will continue to rise.
Gold has always been so valuable because, throughout history, it has stayed relatively difficult to attain, and people want what they can’t have.
In addition, gold has always gotten a fair amount of media attention for being so shiny, fun to look at, and easy to fight over.
Overall, gold has played a priceless part in the world’s history as a whole.