Some days ago we visited the Museum of Gold in Brad, Romania, 30 km away of my city, Deva. There are only 3 or 4 museums of the kind in the world and apparently this one is unique in Europe. The first entry in the entry book is registered in 1912, more than 100 years ago, when its collection had already some hundreds of pieces on display.
The gold museum in Romania, in the city of Brad: “The most valuable 4.5 kilos of gold” in the world.
The museum features more than 1300 minerals containing gold and more than 1000 without gold but exhibited for their beauty. The samples come from countries all over the world, but the most remarkable are the ones that come from the Metalifer Mountains of Romania, containing gold that has been extracted from here for centuries.
It is difficult not to agree with the ones that think that stones have a secret life while looking at the wonders on display. A secret life that us, human kind can not understand.
The collection features some fantastic pieces like the ‘Great Romania’, ‘The pen of Eminescu’ our national poet, ‘The golden lizards’, ‘the dancer’, ‘the polar bear’ or ‘the gun of Avram Iancu’ the hero of Transylvania.
Alexandra and her friend were very impressed by the collection of minerals not containing gold. It is amazing how much beauty there is in the nature, how many combinations of colors and shapes are hidden deep in the ground.
We could admire precious stones and gemstones like the diamond, the rubin, the amethyst and the zirconium in their natural state.
This brought back memories of the time when, wanting to buy a gem adorned ring for my wife I asked the jeweler to offer me an option to the diamond that was kind of too expensive for me at the time and he said-Buy a zirconium stone. As it was for the first time in my life that I have heard that word, I asked him ‘What is the zirconium?’ in order to receive an answer of fantastic simplicity: “Zirconium is zirconium.” Period.
I had to go the Gold Museum of Brad in order to find out that zirconium is a stone that comes from the lava erupted from the volcanoes and that looks a lot like that diamond, competing with it in brightness and elegance.
The way the stones were put on display is very impressive but beside this the Museum shelters also apparently the most valuable 4,5 kg of gold from the planet.
Some exhibits are insured for sums that go over half a million dollars, and “the golden lizard” that was among the select collection that was to represent Romania at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937 is worth more than 3 millions dollars.
The Museum exhibits also many archeological objects discovered in the Brad area that prove the existence of uninterrupted human life on these lands for 5000 years and also a 2000 years of mining activity.
The gold, always associated with the sun, was considered as the symbol of gods, good fortune, wealth and happiness. Which is true but let’s not forget also that it is advisable that man masters the gold and not gold the man.
Unfortunately, for our country, Romania, gold was more of a curse than a blessing. The gold from the Apuseni Mountains attracted all kind of predators from all over the world, from Romans to Mongols. This land was considered an El Dorado and for centuries, Romanian people had to battle in order to defend its home.
During antic times, the first ones to try to take the gold were the Greeks. After them was the turn of the Persians, the war between Darius, the Persian king and the Dacians, forefathers of Romanians being mentioned by Herodot.
The fame of the golden mines of Dacia attracts also Trajan, emperor of the Roman Empire, at the time when it reached its largest expansion and power.
The fact that the Roman Empire succeeded in occupying 16% of the Dacian territory gave place to the largest celebration in human history. Four months of celebration for a victory that saved the Empire from going bankrupt. Because the territory occupied by the Roman armies contained also the gold mines.
According to Ioanes Lydus in his book “De Magistratibus”based on “Getica” of Criton, the plunder amounted to more than 165 tones of gold and 330 tones of silver.
The gold stolen served for the edification of the monuments admired today in the Center of Rome by tourists not aware of the dramas and tragedy hidden behind them.
But all this is history now.
The gold is still there. And still attracting. More of a curse than a blessing.
Go and have a look for yourself. It is more than worth it. It is a place where one can get rich. In memories and understanding of the world we live in.
CONTACT: Brad Gold Museum
Independentei Str. Nr. 3
Brad, Hunedoara County, Romania
Telephone: 0040.254.612 300