The Bullion Exchanges History of Precious Metals
How did precious metals get to the point where they are today, universally coveted after and admired? What drew that first group of people to it and led them to determine each as valuable? Here, we will take you through a brief look at precious metals through the ages, from first use to today’s production.
Gold’s imperviousness to corrosion made it an early symbol of immortality and power among ancient peoples, and because it was additionally rare and of course, shiny and eye-catching, ruling classes made use of it as a symbol of their position and influence. First discovered in Egypt, its real journey began in 3600 BC when it began being smelted, primarily for use in jewelry, by Egyptians. In 564 B.C., Croesus, King of Lydia- an Iron Age kingdom located within modern-day Turkey - is credited as being the first to issue true gold coins with a standardized purity that would one day lead to modern-day bullion. Called electrum, these pieces were composed of a naturally occurring alloy combination of gold and silver. Approximately 500 years later, Romans would take this and run with it, establishing the first widespread monetary system making use of gold.
Silver has always been one of the key elements in human history, being one of the first five metals first discovered and put to use. But upon the mass discovery in 1492 A.D. of silver across South America, the precious metal grew further both in terms of value and opinion. Platinum wouldn’t follow until 1751 A.D. when it was officially recognized as an element. It would have a long path to the first platinum bullion coins, which weren’t issued until 1988, but platinum bullion has since massively increased in popularity.
Ever wonder where we got the term “dollar” from? Interestingly, this term dates back to 1614 Holland, whose locals used the “daalder”, a term that eventually morphed into “dollar”. It could be argued that the dollar did not officially replace gold as the monetary system of the U.S. until 1971 when President Nixon announced that the dollar was no longer convertible into gold internationally, although Roosevelt’s Executive Order in 1933 is often used as well, as it outlawed possession of monetary gold.
Today, precious metals are used for both jewelry and investment, as well as in the production of electronics and automobiles. The U.S. alone produces 234 metric tons of gold and silver on an annual basis, although that number is dwarfed by countries like Mexico and China, who produce 5400 metric tons and 4550, respectively.
At Bullion Exchanges, we pride ourselves on bringing you these valuable pieces of history at affordable prices and in a quality that you can count on. Precious metals have been celebrated for centuries, and there’s no reason to think that they will not continue to grow in worth and demand. Take a look through our gold, silver, and platinum products and stay tuned to our blog for the latest releases in global bullion.