Etymology

The term comes from the Latin word “aurum ‘which means shining dawn, referring to the golden shades present in the sky in the early hours of the morning.

Native Colombian Gold History

The history of the Colombian native gold dates back to the Golden Legend of the pre-Hispanic era, which attracted the thirst of the Spanish conquerors who made a large exploration motivated by the tales of the natives, who populate the central part of the Colombian territory today. They revealed the ceremonial customs of the Guatavita chief, who covered his naked body with gold dust and before his people, he went towards the center of the Guatavita lagoon, in which, he went into the water, to leave the gold that painted his body as an offering, furthermore the rite also comprised throwing of a series of gold and emerald objects to the lagoon.

In search of the fabulous Golden Legend (El Dorado), the Spanish conquerors, made a large exploration where they found different gold deposits in Colombian territory and elsewhere in America. With this, began the exploitation of gold and the findings of highly good examples of native gold and gold pieces, being handled by the Indians.

El Dorado remains a legend, but the discoveries of crafted gold pieces revealed the richness of the lands of the Chibcha and Muisca tribes. Along with pieces of native jewelry, some wonderful pieces of native gold were found, but unfortunately they were not very common.

Geological Origin

Gold is the most common in igneous rocks, and it can actually be said, that almost all igneous rocks have gold in grains of very small diameter, invisible to the naked eye. Commonly, it can be found in seams associated with quartz and pyrite or placer deposits, where miners use trays to wash the soil and find it in the form of grains of different sizes, generally quite small.

Native Gold Characteristics and Properties

Mineral Class Native elements I Group
Color Yellow, pale yellow, reddish yellow
Streak Yellow
Hardness 2.5 – 3 Mohs
Specific Gravity 15.5 – 19.3
Cleavage None
Fracture Metallic
Crystal System Cubic
Habit Unformed grains, dendrite growths, octahedron, dodecahedron
Chemical Formula Au
Atomic Number 79
Fusion Point 1063°C
Boiling Point 2856°C
Transparency Opaque

Native Gold False Names

Native gold can be confused with Pyrite, which is commonly known as fool’s gold because in the midst of the American Gold Rush in the nineteenth century, many were misled, with mines suspected of holding gold, when it was really pyrite.

Deposits

In ancient times, the main gold deposits were in the southern Egyptian Empire and Sudan. Currently, the leading producers of gold are South Africa, USA, Australia, Canada, China, and in South America, several countries have very interesting exploitations such as Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.

Uses

Gold as a precious metal is mainly used in jewelry, but its applications are not limited to aesthetic and fashion, it is also found in electronics, medicine, odontology, arts, and as a form of investment.