The Pattern Still Remains

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Egyptian Grave Robbers

The Egyptians were crippling their own economy when they buried quantities of gold and silver with their dead leaders for, presumably, their leaders’ use in afterlife.  Grave robbers, whatever their motives, served to keep the wheels of Egyptian society turning by restoring the gold and silver to circulation.

Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts, 1979.

Silver Pinecones

Among the most popular Christmas decorations - along with holly or mistletoe - are the pine cones, which are used in their natural state, or are painted in bright colors, or in silver or gold. There is an interesting German legend which explains the origin of the pine cone, widely used at Christmastime. It tells of a poor woman climbing a mountain to pick up pine cones for fuel. She was approached by an elf who told her to “take only the pine cones under this tree.” The good woman picked up the cones indicated and when she arrived home she found that they had all turned to pure silver. Thus, the silver pine cone which we all know today. 

- Sunshine Magazine. The Toastmaster’s Treasure Chest by Herbert V. Prochonow, 1979.

Seven Heavenly Objects & Metals

The alchemists of the Middle Ages noticed that there were seven planets and seven metals. They matched up heavenly objects and metals:

  1. sun & gold
  2. moon & silver
  3. Venus & copper
  4. Mars & iron
  5. Saturn & lead
  6. Mercury & quicksilver
  7. Jupiter & tin

Words from the Myths by Isaac Asimov, 1969.

Trial of the Pyx

"The Trial of the Pyx" occurs every five years in England. It is simply the testing of the amount of gold and silver used in the coins issued from the mint.

Curious Questions by Sara H. Killikelly, 1889.


It may be remarked in passing that the name “ginkgo" is not a genuine Chinese word, even if it sounds like one. Doctor Kaempfer knew that the Chinese word gin means "silver," and he thought that ginkgo meant "silver apricot," a name which might well be given to the seed of the tree. But there is no such word in Chinese; in fact the Chinese poets of the Middle Ages used the rather unpoetical name of "duck’s foot tree."

Dragons in Amber by Willy Ley, 1951.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Purchased in Hong Kong in 2002.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Purchased in Hong Kong in 2002.