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Friday, March 11, 2005

Colors: Gold and Silver

The Wikipedia has an article on silver as a color. (There is also one about it as a metal, of course.) The article says that its shine is what makes this color unique. It isn't just a gray. It also says that silver color ". . . cannot be reproduced by a simple solid color, because the shiny effect is due to the material's brightness varying with the surface angle to the light source." In art, therefore, metallic paints are used for silver. Gold does not get an article as a color. The Wikipedia article on gold as a metal says what we already know, namely that gold is a shiny yellow color. The shiny effect presumably is similar to silver's. The same article says something that's probably not well known, namely that gold can be "black, ruby, or purple when finely divided."

One of the 16 standard VGA colors is silver, but, as you can see it's a dull gray, with no luster. (I can see this in FrontPage, which I use to draft these posts. There's a drop-down box with 16 colors, and one of them is named silver. The same is true in other Office applications.) I'm not going to put any gold color on this page. It just wouldn't work. (I did try to add color to my other Colors posts, beginning with Red.)

The word, gold, occurs in 361 verses in the Bible. All but one are about the metal. There are 61 verses with golden. All of these refer to the metal.

Silver occurs in 282 verses. In all of these, the reference is to metal.

There are 164 verses with both silver and gold, 4 with both silver and golden. Clearly, there's a lot in the Bible about these precious metals.

This is the only Bible verse that I could find that comes close to referring to either of these as a color: Psalm 68:13 says: "Though ye have lien among the pots, [yet shall ye be as] the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." Even this verse may not have meant to refer to colors, but to metal. The idea seems to be that God can turn Cinderella (lying among blackened pots) to a princess.

The word, gold, does occur as a color in popular use. Goldilocks is one example. The story has also been told as Silverhair. (See here for a page on the naming of this tale.) C. S. Lewis wrote The Silver Chair. Senior citizens are sometimes called silverhaired, or are referred to as being in their golden years. Sharon Shinn, one of my favorite fantasy authors, wrote Heart of Gold, about a race of people who were gold colored. Galadriel, the most important elf in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books, probably was named for her golden hair, which was characteristic of her family. The Ring, itself, may have been made of gold, but, if so, it had properties that ordinary gold does not. As in the Bible, the main use of the word gold (and silver) in our culture is as a precious metal, valuable, shiny, and easily workable.

Gold, Silver, and Golden occur occasionally as last names. So do Goldblum, Goldberg, Goldsmith, Silverberg, and other variations. Robert Silverberg is an important author of fantastic fiction. See here for my page (not post, at least not yet) on some of his works.

These posts are not about metals, but colors. Nonetheless, I quote Lamentations 4:1: "How is the gold become dim! [how] is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street."
Also James 5:3 "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days."
Gold doesn't become dim, and neither metal can be cankered, but God was using these statements to show that purity is not necessarily permanent.

Peter compared the Christian life to the purifying of gold by heat: 1 Peter 1:7: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"

I'm planning future posts on white and black.

I hope that I shine, because I am pure.

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