If we were to peruse ancient texts, we will come to find that gold was actually abundant a few thousand years ago and gold was not as scarce as it is currently. It is evident that gold was so common that people built monuments, statues and filled halls with it. Gold’s attraction via its shiny gleam, its non-reactive nature and as well as its malleability drove humans in antiquity towards mining the element incessantly, either by panning for it or digging for it for the mere sake of its aesthetic value which made it the perfect element to be used for decorative purposes.
This is evident based on the hordes of gold in most ancient temples and tombs. However as time passed and wherever gold was found it was ‘sacked’ for thousands and thousands of years until gold became as scarce as it is today. However, gold’s scarcity was already being felt almost a thousand years ago and it was at this point in time (when gold was no longer simply found lying on stream beds) did humans start placing value to it.
Once accepted for it’s attained value, gold became a trade-able world asset and used to obtain goods and services, or in other words, gold started taking on the role of money. After the gradual placement of value on gold, gold was actively sought and eventually systematically mined by ruling tribes, clans, kingdoms and empires. The use of gold became synonymous with trade which gave birth to what we have come to regard to commerce.
Gold was in essence treated as ‘money’ and it was the only accepted money that paid for practically everything including land, slaves, food and protection. This mode of trade went on for a few thousand years until gold reached a point when everybody realised that it was scarce!
The value coupled with the scarcity of gold resulted in a serious of wars among tribes and nations due to gold being an essential element of status, wealth and power. The more gold one had the more buying power they wielded. It became a symbol of wealth as emperors, kings and rulers sought gold to adorn their dwellings as well as themselves.
Gold became more valuable than human life ad as a matter of fact it still is until this very day. Humans have been killing each other and still do for even a few ounces of it. According to the ‘code of Menes’ which is believed to have been created circa 3100 BC, the value of gold to silver ratio was said to be ‘one part of gold was the equivalent of two parts and one half parts of silver’ based on the fact that this ‘ratio’ was established almost 5000 years ago it would be then be perfectly to safe to say that 99% of the earth’s surface gold has been mined.
However it is worthy to note that that most gold from gold jewellery, gold bullion, gold coins and the gold refining industry, was mined in the last few hundred years due to the advancement in technology and population growth.