The ancients deemed gold to be a symbol of power and immortality for it does not corrode. Given its aesthetic and rare qualities, the rulers of the past found gold ideal to represent superiority–Godhood–and forged it into religious symbols and offerings.
Ancient people usually linked the metal to their gods and believed that it’s a material of the heavens. Recent evidence suggests perhaps it was meant literally not just symbolically—gold is thought to be the product of a celestial explosion.
Scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics observed a burst of gamma-rays 3.9 billion light-years away from Earth—one of the closest observable ones to date. The burst was the result of the collision of dead stars, or neutron stars, and this burst is thought to be the dominant force in what creates gold.
“We estimate that the amount of gold produced and ejected during the merger of the two neutron stars may be as large as 10 moon masses—quite a lot of bling!” said lead author of the study Edo Berger, in the study announcement.
Other precious metals are also thought to be formed from similar collisions, such as platinum, palladium, and uranium.
This theory suggests that gold was transported by meteor showers from outer space after the formation of Earth 4.5 billion years ago. If gold had formed at the same time our planet was formed, it would have been mixed with molten rocks and sank to the core of the planet with other materials. Yet, gold is usually found on our planet’s surface.
It is thought that these meteor shower collisions were common in the early stages of the Earth cycle and endowed our planet crusts with various precious metals just like the ancients believed.