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The Gold Rush Years

Gold – one of the most desired metals in the world. It’s flexible, durable and resists corrosion – but it is also one of the most expensive precious metals available. The prospect of gold is enough to turn a humble man greedy through sheer desire, and the biggest example of this was the California Gold Rush.

A gold rush is the act of migration based on news of a dramatic discovery of gold. There have been numerous gold rushes in the course of history but the California Gold Rush is probably the most well-known.

When James W. Marshall discovered gold on pioneer John Sutter’s Mill in Jan 1848, the pair feared the worst. Word got out, and over 300,000 people searching for gold arrived by boat and wagon over the coming months and years. The influx of people from around the world between the years 1848 and 1850 grew the area’s population 25 times over.

By 1850, most of the hand collectable gold was depleted, and large groups of workers and big companies moved in on the gold. These newcomers forced Native Americans out of their land, leaving them with no way to hunt or farm. Their retaliation backfired, and many were killed. Those that did survive soon perished from starvation. Visit our dedicated pages for more information on our etching processes.

While the price of gold in recent years makes it readily available to consumers, at the time it afforded prospectors an income to spend frivolously on alcohol and gambling. Others were more careful with their loot, the Argonauts are rumoured to have sent home the equivalent of $80million.

As a direct consequence of the gold rush, business was booming. Merchants profited heavily selling supplies, wares and food thanks to the influx of migrants in the area. Levi Strauss made the big time after supplying denim overalls to miners, and the business is still successful to this day. The gold rush stimulated economies all over the world. New trade links were established; jobs were created thanks to gold rush investments, and the First Transcontinental Railroad was successfully opened, funded in part by the Gold Rush, changing the way we travel across America forever.

The California Gold Rush is behind the phrase ”˜Eureka!’ and changed the meaning of ”˜The American Dream’ for good. Initially the dream was to have a stable job and home, but the gold rush brought out a desire to make big money in people. They believed that California was the place to do it; and the Golden State is now synonymous with the belief that new beginnings + hard work = great wealth.

These days, gold is used for jewellery and in industry opposed to being a form of currency, but that feeling of quality and durability still remains true. Here at  Qualitetch, we use gold for all your plating and finishing needs,  alongside our range of  chemical etching  and  photo etching processes.  Contact us  for more information on how we can assist you.