Great Moments in Gold History

A.D. 300
The philosopher's stone, the alchemical substance that supposedly turned lead into gold, is referenced by Zosimos in the encyclopedia Cheirokmeta.

600s
In the 7th century, the Byzantine Empire reclaims the gold mines in Europe that were lost in the fall of the western Roman Empire.

1220
The villa that will become the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (which still stands) is built in Kyoto, Japan.


Temple of the Golden Pavilion

1520
According to legend, Aztec emperor Montezuma hides his golden treasure from Spanish invaders but dies before he can recover it.

1530
Europeans begin their search for the mythical lost city of gold, El Dorado, believed to be in South America.

1799
The first piece of U.S. gold (a 17-pound nugget) is discovered in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. The first U.S. gold rush begins four years later.

1848
Gold is discovered by James Marshall in California, drawing 300,000 gold seekers to the state.


A gold nugget found in the Empire Star mines, Nevada County, Calif. It is now displayed in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.

1869
The world's largest nugget—nearly 200 pounds—is found in southeastern Australia.

1896
Gold is discovered along the Klondike River in Canada's Yukon region. The resulting rush provides the setting for Jack London's Call of the Wild.

1900:
The U.S. officially adopts the gold standard, tying the value of the dollar to the metal.

1934
The Gold Reserve Act withdraws gold coins from circulation.

1937
The United States Bullion Depository opens at Fort Knox in Kentucky.

1942
The first gold record is awarded to Glenn Miller for selling 1 million copies of the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo."

1964
Goldfinger hits theaters. Sean Connery's James Bond faces a villain who suffocates a victim with gold paint.

1966
American Express launches the Gold Card.


American Express gold card

1970
Neil Young releases his third solo album, After the Gold Rush, in August; it goes gold in November.

1971
President Richard Nixon takes the dollar off the gold standard.

1986
Work begins at the world's deepest mine, Mponeng, in South Africa, more than two miles underground.

1996
Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson breaks the 200-meter world record wearing golden Nike spikes.


Michael Johnson's gold Nike spikes

2000
The golden dollar coin is released into circulation by the United States Mint.

2010
Ke$ha gets a gold tooth.

2012
A 24-karat-gold iPhone 5 selling for $4,700 hits the market.

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