Gold. What is the lure of this precious metal? Across the globe, for thousands of years and until today, gold is cherished as a symbol of wealth and security, power and beauty. And in its path there is often conflict and suffering, domination and destruction. Why do people buy gold in times of turmoil and insecurity? What is it about gold that makes people feel wealthy and secure, powerful and beautiful?

This lavish and thought provoking book tells the rich story of gold in, of course, 24 chapters.

Gold is continuously topical, always in demand and truly everlasting. It is an unusually dense and durable, yet exceptionally malleable metal. Gold does not erode or even tarnish. It is a highly resistant, chemically inert and relatively rare metal. All the gold that has ever been mined fits in a cube of 65 square feet. Each year the production triples and people all over the world buy gold for different emotional, cultural and economic reasons. Nothing, it is said, is as useless and useful at the same time. It is used in jewelry, technology, coins and bullions. It is traded, seen as a secure investment and kept safe “for a rainy day” by both individuals and nation states.

In this book we trace gold from mines, to markets, to jewelers, gilders, consumers, investors and innovative lab experiments with nano-particles, and on to the vaults where gold is safely stored. We have collected stories in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the US. With the help of people that, in one way or another, work with or own gold we investigate how the faith in and desire for gold is expressed across the world today and we shed light on what and who are in the shadows of the precious metal.

Texts by Anette Nyqvist:

Photographs by Susanne Walström: