Gold -monograph-
Hardcover, 223 pages
1 edition, 2023
Published by Joaquim Callén
Dimensions 13.5 by 10 by 1.5 (inches)
Price $100.00
Gold -monograph-
by Joaquim Callén

On Gold: a monograph, by Joaquim Callén 

Gold appeals in its own special way to mineral collectors, of course, but Joaquim Callén’s monograph begins, in its Foreword, by taking a very much wider view: “On our planet Earth for over 4,000 years humanity has mined [gold], used it in worship, bartered it in commerce, fought wars over it, and even created art and jewelry [from it] to embellish the world.”  While this beautiful book offers expert photos of crystallized gold specimens, its text also treats of related matters including the worldwide history of mining for gold; the uses of gold throughout human history; important localities where gold is found, and their unique histories; the geologic settings of gold occurrences; and many aspects of gold mineralogy. There is hardly any question about the yellow metal which you could ask that the book doesn’t set out to answer somewhere in its 223 pages, and while leafing through it in search of those answers you will also pause, inevitably, to stare in wonder at the world-class crystallized gold specimens (some quite famous) shown in Callén’s hundreds of fine photographs.

The book treats of the “life” of gold from the birth of its atoms in the collisions of neutron stars, through its uses in coinage from Iron Age times into our own, through the interesting sociologies of the major “gold rushes” of history, through the techniques of mining for gold, and finally through the employment of gold, not only in jewelry but in economics, medicine, cosmetics, and many contemporary technologies—we even see pictures of the gold-plated discs sent out into the universe in the noble if faintly wistful effort to tell other civilizations “out there” about, simply, our being here.

Separate chapters discuss important gold localities in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania—all with fine photographs of collector-quality specimen gold from these places. Then, after a 14-page chapter showing us “masterpiece” specimens, there comes a barrage of short chapters on gold chemistry and crystallography, as well as on behaviors of gold which intrigue collectors (herringbone aggregates, latticeworks, hoppered crystals, etc.). There follow short chapters on gold varieties, inclusions, pseudomorphs, and on the tiny number of gold-bearing mineral species besides the native element.

Much has been written about gold, of course, from a great variety of perspectives, and many fine specimen photographs have been published (in, for example, the two whole issues which the Mineralogical Record devoted to gold), but this book can properly claim a place either on one’s living room coffee table or in a conscientious library of historical and scientific literature; in either milieu it qualifies as a “classic”-to-be.