Did you know that in the second half of 16th century gold mines on the territory of today Poland produced 8% of European gold? Today there is a gold mine - museum there - in Zloty Stock (meaning Golden Slope), Southwestern Poland. The only Polish gold mine which still brings a profit! It is owned by Elzbieta Szumska, a brave, energetic and young woman who invested lots of money from bank credits to re-open it. After five years of reconstructions, on 28th May 1996 the Underground Tourist Route „Gold Mine" was opened and is ready for business. Now, if you ever were in this area sign for 90 minutes tour which would show you many shafts working there since medieval times. The tour includes also narrow gauge ride. This gold mine was still active after World War II, but it produced only 20-30 kilograms of gold per year, that means a couple of ounces per day.
Just recently (2008) the richest deposits of gold in Europe were found in Poland. They were found in Lower Silesia, near the copper mine area. Since the deposits are located even below copper deposits, its exploitation would have to wait.
Gold was very important everywhere in the world, also in Poland. It was used for production of the golden coins. The name of Polish currency "zloty" comes from the word "zloty" means "golden
Probably many of you tried or at least is aware that it is possible to buy vodka with golden flakes. Did you wonder how much more does it cost since it contains a precious gold? I was surprised since its price was not any different from the vodka bottle without any golden flakes. Why? I will explain later in the article....
How many of you knew that the first vodka with flakes of gold was made in Polish city of Gdansk about 400 years ago? So, we should be proud that there is a Polish connection to the precious gold in vodka bottle.
In that time Gdansk, then known better by its German name, Danzig, was a very international city. This golden drink was introduced by a Dutchman, Ambrosius Vermöllen, who became later a citizen of Danzig. It was called Goldwasser which means "gold water" in German. The vodka with gold flakes became popular around the world, it was also very popular among miners during gold rush in America. I recently bought an Italian version of Golden vodka called Goldshlaeger with distinct cinnamon taste. The flakes were clearly visible - we drunk them all celebrating friend's birthday.
The answer why the vodka with pieces of gold is cheap is easy, when we take into account unusual properties of gold. Gold is a metal, which is the most malleable and ductile from all known metals. It can be stretched and stretched into very thing foils. We all use Aluminum foil which is very thin, therefore we can bend it, tear it and use as a wrapping paper in spite of the fact that this is a metal. Aluminum foil is thinner than human hair. Its thickness is usually between 0.2-0.006 mm. Since gold can be stretched even more, gold foil called gold leaf is even thinner, about 800 times thinner than Aluminum. Golden foil which is sometimes used only to cover other metals and protect them form rusting can be as thin as few atomic layers. Such thin foil was used in famous Rutherford experiment to find properties of atom about hundred years ago.
Gold is also very inert, it does not react with our body and is safe to digest. Therefore we can drink it and it will just go through our body without any side effects.
Probably 1 cm square of gold foil would be enough to fill up our bottle with many flakes. Since the foil is very thin, it would weight less than 1 microgram. That means that its value, considering the prize of gold at 1000 USD per ounce will be about 6 pennies. So, in spite of the fact that gold is very precious, it is also quite affordable since anybody can afford a gold foil worth 6 pennies!
Visit Polish gold-mine and museum
Baba Jaga Corner