Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the metal alloy. Green gold» and «Greengold» redirect here. For the Israeli figure, see Zvika Greengold. Natural Elektrum «wires» on quartz, historic specimen from the old Smuggler-Union Mine, Telluride, Colorado, USA.
The Pactolus river, from which Lydia obtained electrum for its early coinage. Electrum coin of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus. Cup with mythological scenes, a sphinx frieze and the representation of a king vanquishing his enemies. From the necropolis of Kameiros, Rhodes.
A mummified male head covered in electrum, from Ancient Egypt. Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. It has also been produced artificially, and is often known as green gold. Lydian coinage of the same geographical area. Electrum was used as early as the third millennium BCE in Old Kingdom of Egypt, sometimes as an exterior coating to the pyramidions atop ancient Egyptian pyramids and obelisks. Odyssey referring to a metallic substance consisting of gold alloyed with silver. The same word was also used for the substance amber, likely because of the pale yellow colour of certain varieties.
Electrum consists primarily of gold and silver but is sometimes found with traces of platinum, copper, and other metals. Electrum is mentioned in an account of an expedition sent by Pharaoh Sahure of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt. It is also discussed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. Electrum is also mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, whose prophet Ezekiel is said to have had a vision of Jehovah on a celestial chariot.
Electrum was much better for coinage than gold, mostly because it was harder and more durable, but also because techniques for refining gold were not widespread at the time. In Lydia, electrum was minted into coins weighing 4. Three of these coins—with a weight of about 14. Because of variation in the composition of electrum, it was difficult to determine the exact worth of each coin. Widespread trading was hampered by this problem, as the intrinsic value of each electrum coin could not be easily determined. These difficulties were eliminated circa 570 BCE when the Croeseids, coins of pure gold and silver were introduced. However, electrum currency remained common until approximately 350 BCE.