Alchemy May Not Have Been the Pseudoscience We All Thought It Was

Although scientists never could quite turn lead into gold, they did attempt some noteworthy experiments

Tolkien's Dwarves Would Have Needed 38 Mini-Nuclear Plants to Melt All That Gold So Quickly

Unless those dwarf furnaces were burning some sort of Middle-earth super fuel, in real life Smaug probably would have just eaten the dwarves

The lifestyles of the modern-day prospectors are not so far removed from that of the forty-niners.

There's a New Breed of Forty-Niners Rushing to the Pacific

Lured by the soaring price of the precious metal, prospectors are heading for the California hills like it's 1849 all over again

To find flecks of gold, workers devour the rainforest floor with water cannons. "There are a lot of accidents," says one. "The sides of the hole can fall away, can crush you."

The Devastating Costs of the Amazon Gold Rush

Spurred by rising global demand for the metal, miners are destroying invaluable rainforest in Peru's Amazon basin

Gold bullion from the National Bank of Poland

What Is Rarer Than Gold?

Other than the human tendency for imitating magpies, gold really isn't all that special

President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the double eagle in 1905. He later pronounced the gold piece to be “the best coin that has been struck for 2,000 years.”

Golden Grail

Few U.S. coins are rarer than the never circulated 1933 double eagle, melted down after the nation dropped the gold standard


Midas Touch

To clean highly polluted groundwater, Michael Wong has developed a detergent based on gold

In most Akan states, gold-ornamented sandals identify a ruler. It is taboo for a chief to walk barefoot; to do so, followers believed, would invite disaster.

West African Gold: Out of the Ordinary

The inventive goldwork and royal regalia of Ghana's Akan people —on display in a new exhibition— are drawn, strikingly, from daily life

A Brush with Gold

Sculptures by a modern master using age-old techniques will be on public view for the first time

This small piece of yellow metal is believed to be the first piece of gold discovered in 1848 at Sutter's Mill in California, launching the gold rush.

A Metal Far From Base

A tiny flake started the rush to California, but where gold is concerned, that isn't the half of it


The Lure of Gold

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