When You Realize All That Glitters Are Not Gold

All gliters are not gold, girl smiling

In this era where materialistic notions rules this world, people often forget the worth and beauty behind a smile because for them things that sparkle or glitters are only gold. Gold – A desirable commodity ever since it was first discovered by the Egyptians as far back as 3100 B.C., has witnessed how humanity can be played around with their ever growing lust for becoming rich and greed. Name any civilizations, be it the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Indians or Chinese, these countries used to send slaves to work in dangerous mines in the quest for gold when it was not even used as currency, but for its brilliance, luster, natural beauty and its great malleability.

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According to gold.org latest available data around 197,576 tonnes of gold has been mined throughout history, and two-third of has mined ever since 1950. Below is the data regarding above the ground gold stock distribution. It must be noted that 47% of the gold mined are used for jewelry purpose.

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How gold is formed?

The gold along with other heavy metals on our planet such as Nickel and Platinum is said to be created because of collision of neutron stars (formed by the r-process or rapid neutron capture)in the space.

Previously it was believed that when stars are near to their dying years, they create and blast common metals like iron and gold in the form of supernova explosions, but there is a missing part to this story which is that most stars in the universe were binary systems – two stars that are bound by gravity and orbit each other. There is a high chance that these binary systems may end up as neutron stars similarly orbiting each other for hundreds or millions of years eventually they end up colliding each other creating massive explosions

Binary Systems, Credit: Space.com

History & Importance Of Gold In Different Culture

  • Gold was considered as a divine element by the ancient Egyptians that had magical powers and was often referred to as “the flesh of the gods”. Gold in Egypt where used in daily life, temples and funerary ritual and played a important part in the Egyptian culture and was worn by both men and women especially in the Sumer civilization around 5000 BCE. The best example of usage of gold in Egypt is the  death mask of King Tutankhamun.
  • The gold which was used by Egyptians was not in its pure form as it contained around 20% or more Silver in it, and is considered to be Electrum – a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Egyptians were also the ones who first devised a method to determine the purity of the gold, and the process was called fire assaying.
  • Lydia (Now Turkey) stamped the first gold coin and was where Gold was first used as a monetary exchange system. This again was a mixture of gold and silver.
  • During the reign of Alexander of Macedon, Greeks adapted many mining technology to extract gold from its ore.

Is gold really worth the try? or are we forgetting humanity?

It isn’t anything unknown that accidents at gold mines sites are frequent because of soil instability and outdated methods employed by the miners. Worth to note that it is not just the life of people which is endangered, gold mining is one of the destructive job in the world because it pollutes the nearby land and water with mercury and cyanide. Gold mines displaces communities leading to lot of people loosing their livelihood, hurt workers and creates issues to their nervous system because these mine workers use toxic mercury to separate gold from its ore.

The mine workers also include children’s who ends up having lifelong disability and deformities, and they also need to work for long hours rather than having a normal life as a kid. Tens of thousands of children across Africa, Asia & South America are sent to work in tunnels and mineshafts where they risk death from explosions, rock falls, and tunnel collapse.

These children’s don’t deserve a life like this, at an age were they should be playing around with their friends and enjoying one of the most beautiful stages of life, which is childhood, they are smuggled as slaves and are sent for jobs with high risk where they meet their death face to face every single day not knowing they will see the next dawn. One such example is of Ghana’s illegal gold mining, where the youth are made attracted to gold mining by promising quick money from illegal prospecting of gold.

Credit: Daily Herald

Below is a sneak peak into some of the recent accidents which has happened in different gold mines across the globe.

  • 9 May 2021: 15 people have been killed in landslide at an artisanal gold mine near the village of Tatakourou, Guinea.

  • 8 Nov 2021: 18 people died in southern Niger in the border with Nigeria when an artisanal gold mine collapsed.

  • 29 Dec 2021: In Sudan’s West Kordofan province, 38 people have been killed in the collapse of gold mine. 

Is your happiness of wearing a shiny metal  worth all this mishaps and pain that is faced by these laborers across the globe? are their life less worthy than your happiness or your culture which picturize wearing gold gives you status and name in the society? Below are some images that shows examples on gold obsession across different cultures across the globe.

One must understand that every culture in this world at the end of the day are human-made, but if a culture can’t uphold humanity, is it worth following it for the sake of being culturally accepted in the society?

The main problem lies in the fact that most people are not aware about things that are happening behind gold mining, apart from that, it is this dark side, the industries and big gold brands want to hide from you. The news of people who dies in these gold mines are most of the time sabotaged and never brought into limelight, after all this is what happens in a society where ideal journalism is non-existent, and the exact news are often manipulated and kept hidden from the public eye by throwing up some cash to the news and press media.

So can we stop this from happening?

Well the answer is both yes and no, because you as an individual may not be able to stop all the illegal gold mining that’s happening across the globe, but the power of every market lies in the hands of it’s consumers, when there is no demand for a product, there would be no supply as well. So bring in the change this world requires, let it start from you and then transcend to a group and to the society. The change may not happen overnight, but you can be an inspiration as well as an influence to others who are willing to fight against these inhumane practices.

Don’t be afraid of being an outcast, take risk or else you would always be in the same position, where you are caught in a constant loop and will neve be able to move forward. This world may not accept people who are ready to take risk irrespective of what their family, friends or society has to say, but if you know what you are doing is the right thing to do, follow what your heart says and just do it blindly.

With a hope for a better world, lets wait for a dawn when we are not just humans, but humans who uphold humanity.

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