Gold was first discovered in streams all over the world as shining, yellow nuggets, and since its discovery mankind has been captivated. Gold was the first metal widely known to man. It occurs in a virtually pure and workable state and due to its beauty and preciousness it has been linked to royalty in early civilizations.
Gold has close associations with the gods, with immortality, and with wealth itself that are common to many cultures throughout the world. Early civilizations equated gold with gods and rulers, and gold was sought in their name and dedicated to their glorification. Mankind has always placed a high value on gold even before it was "money", equating it with power, beauty, and the cultural elite. Since gold is widely distributed all over the globe, we find this attitude towards gold to be common throughout ancient and modern civilizations everywhere.
Gold's beauty, scarcity, unique density (no other metal outside the platinum group is as heavy), and the ease by which it could be melted, formed, and measured made it a natural trading medium. Gold gave rise to the concept of money itself: portable, private, and permanent. Gold (and silver) in standardized coins made trade easier.
A monetary standard made the world economy possible. The concept of money, (i.e., gold and silver in standard weight and fineness coins) allowed the World's economies to expand and prosper. During the Classic period of Greek and Roman rule in the western world, gold and silver both flowed to India for spices and to China for silk. At the height of the Empire (A.D. 98-160), Roman gold and silver coins reigned from Britain to North Africa and Egypt.
The world economic environment is currently undergoing major change. The investment outlook, particularly for certain parts of the world, is more unpredictable than usual. Under these circumstances, it is logical to conclude that certain investment portfolios should include real (non-paper) assets such as commodities for protection against a potential decline in the fiat currency or paper markets.