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"Why did the ancients copper plate gold rings?"

March 10, 2010

I live in Israel. Several years ago I found an ancient ring in the pasture. The band had broken off, leaving a flat disk-shaped signet or seal, and two stubs. I recently had a jeweler work on it. He discovered that below the green-blackish patina was copper, coating a pure gold ring. He removed the copper and completed the band. Why would the ancients coat a gold ring with copper?

Jonathan Spector
hobbyist - Kibbutz Harel, Israel

March 19, 2010

I have a gold band made the same way except the inside part the copper had been worn away and exposed the gold. My grandfather had given it to me and was passed down through many generations from Israel. He told me that in ancient times they would coat the gold with copper to hide the true value of the ring so it would not be readily stolen or taken from them.

Timmy Stewart
- Wheeling, West Virginia, USA

March 19, 2010

Tim, for the most part is correct but to elaborate gold has always been regarded as SOLID currency. It has value no matter where you are and no matter who you are trading with. Countless times over the years the private ownership of gold has been prohibited to individuals. As an example the Nazis collected all of the gold from the Jews in 1939 and the United States banned private ownership of gold in 1933, if memory serves. Both of these examples were for mostly political reasons but in many cases slaves were also banned from owning money or any other things of value to prevent their travel in the event of an escape attempt. Also governments do not really appreciate large amounts of money trading around during a time of war which was one of the primary causes of the Americans banning private ownership at one time. As Tim said someone for some reason wanted to hide that bit of gold. For what ever reason possessing it was probably illegal at that time and carrying precious metal was probably an insurance policy in the event that situations got hot. We see much the same thing happening in Africa at this time with the black, blood or conflict diamonds. Many countries have outlawed the buying or selling of them or even the importation of them. Their story on the world stage is that these blood diamonds are mined at the expense of slave or near slave labor and that people are dying because of their trade. While some or most of that may be true the real reason these countries have banned or restricted them is because they are being used to buy arms and food for what they call the TERRORISTS. I believe that when the USA had their revolution terrorists had not been invented yet and they simply summed it up as the north and the south. At any rate this banning of trade and ownership is directed at supporting the governments that are currently in power or the so called terrorists or freedom fighters whichever you prefer to call them that the country instituting the bans happens to support. Money is transitory. It can burn or become valueless overnight. It's bulky and hard to transport and hide. Gold and diamonds are linear. They do not rot, burn or otherwise go bad. They are easy to hide and they speak every language. What ever the reason for your copper coated gold, I'm willing to bet there is a very interesting story behind it!

rod henrickson
Rod Henrickson

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


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