Golden State

As one might expect, gold is the official state mineral and was so designated in 1965. The gold discovery in January 1848 rapidly transformed a pastoral landscape with 15,000 people into a societal melting pot of burgeoning towns as prospectors came from all over the world to seek their fortunes. Between 1850 and 1859, miners extracted 28,280,711 fine ounces of gold which would be worth more than $10 billion today. Malleable and beautiful, gold has been prized and sought after for millennia for coinage, jewelry, and other arts. A single ounce can be beaten into 100 square feet. In medieval times, gold was often seen as beneficial for health. Today, because of its ductility and resistance to corrosion, gold has many practical uses in dentistry, electronics, and industry. Estimates are that 75% of all gold ever produced has been extracted, and that much of the gold mined throughout history is still in circulation in one easily recycled form or another. Gold may symbolize power, strength, wealth, happiness, or perfection, and is further associated with wisdom and high achievement. The long-used popular designation “The Golden State” became California’s official nickname in 1968.

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