Gold is a noble metal. Shining, beautiful, alluring and as old as the universe, it is all around us. Gold is present in minute quantities all over the earth, in sea water, in animals and even in humans.
Nuggets and flakes of gold are found widely in river deposits, washed out from the parent rock. Only in the few places on Earth, where gold appears in a more concentrated form, notably California, South Africa and Australia, can it be extracted and refined in any quantity. Even Scotland has its own deposits, including Leadhills in Lanarkshire, where the metal has long been mined and panned.
Mankind first exploited gold more than 6000 years ago. It was in use in Scotland before the end of the third millennium BC and from the late first millennium BC gold was turned into coin both to store and transfer wealth. The malleability of gold allows it to be wrought into a great variety of objects from royal crowns to simple wedding rings.
The many other useful properties of gold include its softness, conductivity, inertness and solubility. Gold plays a frequent and important role in decoration, electronics, communications and medicine. Since we first started to use gold, its appearance on a table, in costume and jewellery, on buildings and sculptures has enabled a monarch, an institution, a community or a person to demonstrate both wealth and prestige.
Map of Scotland with the main locations from which gold has been obtained (red stars) with the major geological fault zones (grey lines) © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2014.
Sutherland breccia that contains up to 12g per tonne of gold © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2014.
Scottish Gold will be accompanied by a varied events programme including exhibition tours, a one day symposium, various workshops, gold panning demonstrations and a gold panning expedition to Leadhills. A special series of lunchtime talks will take place every Wednesday for the duration of the exhibition, featuring fascinating gold-related topics.
Scottish Gold Tours
Daily (excluding Mondays) from 22 March 2014
Hunterian Art Gallery
Scottish Gold daily tours let by our student MUSEs.
Tours last approximately 30 minutes and are included in the exhibition ticket price (£5.00/£3.00 concession).
Centre for Open Studies Scottish Gold Course
Saturday 8 March 2014
10.00am - 1.00pm
This half-day course is based on the Scottish Gold exhibition. Covering the exhibition themes, the course will look in more detail at various aspects of gold in Scotland, including the geology of gold, its occurrence in Scotland, the history of mining, working and using gold in Scotland from archaeological pre-history, to the present day, and its role in Scottish history and culture.
10.15 Dr. John Faithfull, Curator of Mineralogy, The Hunterian - The Natural History of Gold
11.00 Dr Alison Sheridan, Principal Curator of Early Prehistory, National Museums of Scotland - Scottish Archaeological Gold
11.30 Coffee (and the chance to look at a range of gold-related geological and other specimens)
12.00 Dr Neil Clark, Curator of Palaeontology, The Hunterian - The Scottish Gold Rushes
12.30 Dr John Faithfull - Finding and Mining Gold
1.00pm - Finish.
Course number 19051. For further information, or to book visit:
Scottish Gold Lunchtime Talks
12.45pm - 1.00pm
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission free (includes entry to the exhibition)
Wednesday 26 March
The gold rushes of Scotland
Dr Neil Clark, Curator of Palaeontology, The Hunterian
Wednesday 2 April
Bronze Age Bling
Alison Sheridan, Principal Curator of Early Prehistory, National Museums of Scotland
Wednesday 9 April
Where does gold come from?
Dr John Faithfull, Curator of Mineralogy, The Hunterian
Wednesday 16 April
The University’s 1460s mace
Professor David Gaimster, Director, The Hunterian
Wednesday 23 April
The Scottish Coronation of 1633
Dr Donal Bateson, Senior Curator, The Hunterian
Wednesday 30 April
Drawing in Gold
Andrew Lamb, Lecturer, Silversmithing and Jewellery, The Glasgow School of Art
Wednesday 7 May
Gold in Medicine
Stuart McDonald, Senior Lecturer, Anatomy, University of Glasgow
Wednesday 14 May
The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh
Sarah McAdam, Incorporation Manager, The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh
Wednesday 21 May
Title to be confirmed
Adrian Boyce, Professor of Applied Geology, SUERT, University of Glasgow
Wednesday 28 May
Going for gold – contemporary jewellery
Elizabeth Moignard, Honorary Professorial Research Fellow, Classics, University of Glasgow
Wednesday 4 June
Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project
Steve Driscoll, Professor of Historical Geography, Archaeology, University of Glasgow
Perspectives in Gold
4 April – 4 May 2014
Hunterian Art Gallery
This special display features new work using gold by students from Scottish colleges, sponsored by The Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust Precious Metal Bursary 2014.
The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust is a charity set up in 2000 by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of Edinburgh to promote and support the education, art and craft of Scotland’s gold and silversmithing heritage. The Trust assists practicing gold and silversmiths and students of silversmithing and jewellery through both Trust-led projects and grants.
The trust gives annual Precious Metal Grants to five Scottish colleges with jewellery and silversmithing courses: City of Glasgow College, Edinburgh College of Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Glasgow Clyde College and The Glasgow School of Art. The grant gives students the opportunity to work and experiment with silver and gold, developing their skills and knowledge in working with these precious materials.
To celebrate the exhibition Scottish Gold, the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust is delighted to have partnered The Hunterian to present this showcase of the work that can be produced through the Precious Metal Bursaries.
Perspectives in Gold Symposium
Saturday 5 April 2014
9.30am – 4.30pm
Hunterian Art Gallery
This symposium has been organised by Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust in collaboration with The Hunterian and coincides with the Scottish Gold exhibition and a display of works by students from the Scottish Colleges of Art resulting from The Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust Precious Metal Bursary 2014.
9.30am – 10.00am Coffee & Registration
10.15am – 10.30am Welcome (Sarah McAdam, SGT and Professor David Gaimster, Hunterian)
10.30am – 11.10am George Dalgleish, A History of Scottish Gold
11.15am - 11.55am Peter Davidson, A Mineralogical/Geological Perspective
12.00pm – 12.25pm Misun Won – Keum Boo in Contemporary Jewellery
12.30pm – 2.30pm Lunch; Keum Boo Demonstrations (City of Glasgow College); Exhibition Visits
2.30pm – 3.10pm Andrew Lamb
3.10pm – 3.35pm Filipa Oliveira – Filum Granum in the Life of a Jeweller
3.40pm – 4.15pm Panel Discussion – Scottish Gold; The Future
4.15pm – 4.30pm Summary/Thanks
This symposium is aimed at students and emerging jewellers/silversmiths. To book visit http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-gold-symposium-tickets-10888881939
For further information email email@example.com or telephone 0131 557 6938.
Visits to the Cononish Gold Mine, Tyndrum
Friday 9 May and Friday 6 June 2014
9.00am - 4.00pm
£15.00 per head (limited to 15 people)
These special visits offer a rare chance to visit Scotland’s prospective gold mine and the opportunity to see the gold-bearing rocks underground and on the surface.
Led by Chris Sangster, CEO Scotgold Resources Ltd and Dr John Faithfull, Curator of Mineralogy at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, each trip will look at the geology of the gold deposit, and at the practical, technical and environmental issues involved in developing a gold mine.
Each visit is limited to 15 people. Part of the excursion will be on the surface, and may be exposed to rain or other bad weather, so you should be suitably dressed and equipped. Safety boots, lamps and hard hats for the underground part of the visit will be provided by Scotgold.
Participants must be over 18 years old.
The visit is not suitable for anybody with mobility difficulties, as it will involve around 2km of walking on a rough track.
Minibus departs from the University of Glasgow at 9.00am on both days. Bring a pack lunch. The bus should be back at the University by 4.00pm at the latest.
For further details and booking, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 0141 330 4213.
Gold Panning Workshops
Saturday 7 June 2014
12.00pm - 2.00pm
Hunterian Art Gallery
A 30-minute introduction to the tricks and techniques for gold panning! Sessions run every half hour between 12.00pm and 2.00pm. Suitable for all ages.
Please note that sessions take place in the Hunterian Art Gallery and outdoors - please wear weather appropriate clothes.
Free drop-in activities for all the family - no booking required.
Gold Panning Field Trip to Wanlockhead
Suitable CPD for teachers for CfE and Outdoor Learning
Friday 16 May 2014
9.00am - 4.15pm
9.00am Meet at Hunterian Art Gallery, minibus departs Glasgow
10.30am – 12.00pm Arrive at Wanlockhead, visit to Hidden Treasures Museum and lead mine
12.00pm - 12.45pm Lunch
12.45pm - 2.00pm Panning for gold with expert and Hunterian curator Dr Neil Clark
2.00pm Depart from Wanlochead
3.30pm Arrive at Glasgow, tour of Scottish Gold exhibition, Hunterian Art Gallery
£100 per person. Booking essential - email Monica.Callaghan@glasgow.ac.uk
Cost includes: expert guide; travel; lunch; Gold panning licence; materials; entry into the mine, the Hidden Treasures Museum and the Scottish Gold exhibition; copy of Scottish Gold book by Dr Neil Clark.
Image: Feather brooch by Andrew Lamb, 2000. Photo courtesy of Professor E Moignard.