Getting Stoned: Green Gold aka Electrum


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I want to talk about green gold. It’s a hard-to-find type of gold that when occurring in nature, it is an alloy known as electrum.

Manhattan Gold & Silver has a blog post about it and they said that the green tint in this form of gold is subtle. Only a trained eye would be able to quickly spot it. The blog also dove into the history of green gold. In the Old Kingdom of Egypt--sometime around the third millennium BC, it was used as a coating for the capstones that sat on the obelisks and pyramids.

Ancient drinking vessels and even the first metal coins were made from electrum. Also, Nobel Prize medals were made with it for several years. In jewelry, it's often used as an accent color or the main material. However, the alloying of gold and silver doesn't make it stronger. Usually, green gold will have zinc or nickel to strengthen--but be careful with nickel. Many people are allergic to jewelry with nickel.

It’s so uncommon that when I looked up where to buy the metal, I found a jewelry forum with someone asking the same question I was searching.

She was told that her best bet was to make the alloy herself with 50% fine silver and 50% gold. My jewelry supplier where I get my precious metal wire from doesn’t have it, sadly.

Electrum Magazine took a dive into the historical linguistics of electrum, which is the Latin version of the word, electron. According to the article, Amber was connected to the word, elector, which means 'beaming sun,' and was also related to fire.

The Ancient Greek word, electron, was another word that described the alloy of gold and silver. Homer even mentioned Electrum in the Odyssey. when Telemachus spoke of the splendor of the Palace of Menelaus.

“Son of Nestor, dear to this heart of mine, mark the flashing of bronze throughout the echoing halls, and the flashing of gold, of electrum, of silver, and of ivory. Of such sort, methinks, is the court of Olympian Zeus within, such untold wealth is here; amazement holds me as I look.”

Electrum Magazine poetically writes, "Thus, the continuity of expanding meanings for electron and electrum from the ancient world through the present is an exciting exploration in philology, ancient material culture and economic history. The finely-detailed insects embedded in fossil amber for millions of years, preserved for near eternity, remind us that electrum can last far longer than the ancient cultures who valued it as a precious substance. This long timeline ought to be humbling to mortal humans."

Link to the articles.

Podcast cover created with an image by Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0,

About Getting Stoned

Getting Stoned is a podcast about gems, minerals, and fun conversations that may go off-topic--but that’s perfectly fine. The mission of this podcast is to encourage folks to explore the wonderful world of crystals, gems, minerals, and the various ways they are used in life, technology, and more.

Sometimes I interview guests and other times I’m sharing something neat I found. If you enjoy this podcast please feel free to subscribe to my new YouTube channel, Getting Stoned Online. I also have sponsorship opportunities starting at just $1 per month. Sponsors get early access to Getting Stoned podcasts and free access to my online gem library filled with digital art and ebooks that I’ve created. Visit my website, to learn more.

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