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Meaning: 'Red gold'

Uncle_DaveO 26 Jan 09 - 02:47 PM
Megan L 26 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Jan 09 - 03:22 PM
michaelr 26 Jan 09 - 03:22 PM
wyrdolafr 26 Jan 09 - 03:26 PM
Sorcha 26 Jan 09 - 03:27 PM
Megan L 26 Jan 09 - 03:29 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 26 Jan 09 - 03:43 PM
Anne Lister 27 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Indrani Ananda 27 Jan 09 - 06:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 09 - 07:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jan 09 - 09:31 PM
Effsee 27 Jan 09 - 11:09 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick (cookiless) 28 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM
peregrina 28 Jan 09 - 03:18 PM
Bat Goddess 28 Jan 09 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,Indrani Ananda 29 Jan 09 - 12:54 AM
mack/misophist 29 Jan 09 - 11:29 AM
peregrina 29 Jan 09 - 11:32 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jan 09 - 12:39 PM
Uncle_DaveO 29 Jan 09 - 03:38 PM
peregrina 29 Jan 09 - 04:06 PM
semi-submersible 30 Jan 09 - 08:21 AM
Gurney 24 Jan 12 - 02:11 AM
Eric the Viking 24 Jan 12 - 03:37 PM
Eric the Viking 24 Jan 12 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,SteveG 25 Jan 12 - 03:45 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 16 Apr 13 - 09:02 PM
Rumncoke 17 Apr 13 - 04:50 AM
Lighter 17 Apr 13 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Apr 13 - 05:27 PM
JHW 18 Apr 13 - 05:00 AM
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Subject: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 02:47 PM

I've been reading the Nibelungenlied, and I have a question about a usage I find there, and have in the past found in Volsunga Saga and in several old Scottish ballads.

They refer to "red gold" or "glede-red gold" and "red gold hammered helmets", and so on.

To me, as colors, red and gold and different, and the metal gold is not red but--you guessed it--gold colored, not red.

Can someone make this confuzlement plainer to me? Why "red gold"? Or maybe it's "What is 'red gold'?"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Megan L
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 02:56 PM

Not certain Dave but it could refer to what we now call Rose Gold a gold copper alloy


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:22 PM

In the sources I've seen (some listed above) gold coins and rings are often referred to as "red gold" too.    Seldom (seems to me) just "gold".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:22 PM

Megan is right: "Rotgold" is a gold-copper alloy. Similarly, "Weissgold" is, I believe, a gold-platinum alloy.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:26 PM

A glede is a bright glowing ember. Glede-red could possibly be interpreted as in bright and shining/glowing.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:27 PM

There ARE different colours of gold. See Black Hills Gold. Red, green, pink, white, and 'gold'. See the pictures on this page.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Megan L
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:29 PM

thanks Sorcha your quicker than i am mind you it would have helped if i had remembered how to spell Clogau Welsh gold


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 03:43 PM

My mother had a watch of "pink gold" - and it did have a distinctly pinkish cast. Very pretty.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Anne Lister
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 04:58 AM

Our wedding rings are rose gold. Put next to "yellow" gold and you can really see a difference. Clogau is a brand name for one jewellery company working in Welsh gold - ours come from a different jeweller but are Welsh gold all the same (with dragon hallmarks to prove it). Although not all Welsh gold is rose gold, and it depends, as said above, on the alloy.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: GUEST,Indrani Ananda
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 06:03 PM

Red gold must surely mean rose gold, although I would say it's more of a pink gold. Elizabeth I was said to have red-gold hair; this was a widely used description in those times.

       There is curious use of this anomaly by Shakespeare in Macbeth, when Duncan is discovered with "his silver skin laced by his golden blood". Kings are supposed to have blue blood, are they not? Gold was purer and unsullied in those times and therefore of a much deeper colour - almost of a red-gold sunset lustre like Asian gold. Add to this that most golden jewellery was often seen by candlelight, firelight and torchlight, which must have compounded its deeper lustre, and I think you may have the answer.

                                              Indrani.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 07:59 PM

Chris Aire is a world-famous goldsmith, who specializes in red gold. See examples at his website: Chris Aire

By varying tha metals alloyed with the gold, a wide range of color can be obtained. I have a watch chain with links in red, green white and yellow gold.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 09:31 PM

Gold can indeed be reddish, and the term Red Gold is given it in such cases by goldsmiths and jewellers - but I suspect that the main reason for preferring to use the term "Red Gold" in ballads and epics and such would often have been to link it in the mind with blood.

"Red gold" can push over a switch in the mind somehow which "gold" on its own would not. It raises the stakes. I'm sure that's why Kipling liked to use it, for example in the Rhyme of True Thomas

"And some they give me the good red gold,
And some they give me the white money,
And some they give me a clout o' meal,
For they be people o' low degree."

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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Effsee
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 11:09 PM

Guest Indrani... that's the biggest load of sh**e I've seen in a long time!


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick (cookiless)
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM

Small world. I've just put down some proof reading, come upstairs to turn the computer off, and seen this query.

Almost the last thing I checked before I said 'hell, that's enough for tonight', was the meaning of red gold. It is a gold and copper alloy which possesses a reddish tinge, used at one time as a braid or ornament.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: peregrina
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 03:18 PM

I think it's a poetic epithet; it's unlikely to be a specific alloy in that poem--or anyway, it can't be verified because it's a work of fiction.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 06:54 PM

My antique rose gold ring with old opals (my second engagement ring from Tom, actually, but the first opal ring was also antique rose gold) is much more subtle than "modern" rose gold (such as Black Hills rose gold) -- you can really only see its warmer color against regular yellow gold.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: GUEST,Indrani Ananda
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 12:54 AM

Are we talking about metal here, or the description of a colour? Also, how does white gold get to be white?
                        
                           Effsee, I was trying to explain the use of the words red-gold as they are often used by writers and poets. Do you want a metallurgy lesson or what?

                           One does not go into a jewellers and ask for red gold; therefore I think that in the several contexts cited, the descriptive words "red gold" were born out of the imagery of folklore, magic, sagas, poetic licence and even Pre-Raphaelite paintings!

                                              Indrani.


             PS. Are there any Alchemists out there?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: mack/misophist
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 11:29 AM

No one has yet mentioned that gold occurs in nature. It is never pure. The most common contaminant is copper. The one bit of authentic Black Hills placer gold I've seen had a distinct red blush caused by high levels of copper. If this alloy was the norm in north-western Europe, calling it 'red gold' seems obvious. Native copper doesn't look anything like gold.

White gold is made with platinum, rhodium, and/or palladium; purple with aluminum; and it is said you can make black gold with antimony.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: peregrina
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 11:32 AM

The original question was about a noun and epithet in one place: The Nibelungenlied; information about the poetic meaning was sought.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 12:39 PM

The main example (though Volsunga Saga and 'several old Scottish ballads' were also mentioned) was a translation into English of the Nibelungenlied (we are not told which translation; there are many), using an English-language poetic commonplace which, like 'milk-white', 'nut-brown' and so on, is unexceptional to anyone moderately familiar with the ballad form.

It really is very simple and very prosaic, which is probably why people are still arguing the toss about a question that was answered in broad within an hour of being asked. Some always want complexity, even if they have to invent it themselves.

'Red gold' is a ballad commonplace ('poetic epithet' if you prefer). There is a good reason for that. Pure gold is too soft to make anything functional with. Jewellery, coinage and so on must all be made with a gold alloy if they are to last. Copper has been used for that purpose for a very, very long time indeed, and it gives a reddish colouration to the alloy. That isn't in question; it is a simple matter of fact. That is why 'red gold' was the standard term in ballads, real or pastiche, when referring to gold artefacts and, by extension, other things of value associated with gold. Everybody knew exactly what it meant.

When the publication of Percy's Reliques brought the ballad form back into fashion, the term was naturally taken up by the Romantic Poets and everybody to whom romantic archaism appealed, the Pre-Raphaelites not least among them (for them, red hair became quite an obsession). Naturally, the stock language of the ballad was also used in translations of epic poetry, though as 'michaelr' has pointed out the same terms were used in other languages.

A brief search via Google provides specifics about the metallic content of gold alloys, whether red, rose, yellow, purple, white, green, grey or blue. Most seem reliable enough, as the matter is not a question of speculation or interpretation but of hard fact.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:38 PM

Mack/Sophist and Malcolm Douglas, you have answered my query pretty well. And thank you. And thanks to others who gave information, too.

Peregrina said:

I think it's a poetic epithet; it's unlikely to be a specific alloy in that poem--or anyway, it can't be verified because it's a work of fiction.

Actually, the Nibelungenlied is not quite a work of fiction. Or maybe I should say "not thoroughly a work of fiction". It's a poetic fictionalized and extended version of historical facts and situations, composed about six or seven hundred years after the facts portrayed, based on several earlier preexisting heroic lays on the same events. After the standards of the time, it was not only entertainment but a presentation of history. Of course it's true that it's dressed up with prophecies and a few mythical creatures, like nixies (water sprites), and a brief passing reference to a dragon, but King Etzel is the historical Attila the Hun, and Siegfried (aka Sigurd, Sifrit, et al.) was actual, and Brunhild (aka Brunhilda, Brynhilt, et al.) and Kriemhild (aka Gudrun, Grimhilda, Grimmhilt, Grimmelda et al.) and many more characters are historical, as are the high-level marriages of Kriemhild to Siegfried and (some years after Siegfried's murder) later to King Etzel, and the marriage of King Gunnar of Burgundy to Brunhild, and the betrayal and battle which wiped out the King, court, and army of Burgundy ("the Rhenish lands") are poetically dressed-up history.

But Peregrina is correct that, as a work of heroic poetry (a sort of historical novel of its time, I suppose you might say), the Nibelungenlied is not checkable as to details of expression after about fifteen centuries from the original facts and eight centuries after its composition by an anonymous minstrel.

But the expression "red gold" for treasure objects and coinage is not restricted to that work, nor to those particular times and areas, and I wanted to know if the expression "red gold" held more than a mere romantic or poetic reference to "gold" gold. From what several here have said, I conclude that it was intended as fairly straightforward   description of the metal objects involved.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: peregrina
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:06 PM

You're right, of course Dave, that there's an historical kernel--as there is for The Waltharius, Beowulf, the Tain, and the Song of Roland, among others. But the current form of the Nibelungenlied is more than half a millennium after the characters whose stories it transmits and there are some serious anachronisms and inconsistencies...

To make a decision about the red gold in the original MHG you simply have to look at the original language, the connotations of the words involved and the usual or unusual noun-adjective collocations. Malcolm Douglas's fascinating information about translation-ese is relevant for the English....

A parting thought: it has been said that treasure was to an early medieval audience as sex is to a modern one. What the audience of the date of the earlies Nib. manuscripts thought about red gold is yet another questions.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: semi-submersible
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 08:21 AM

You can too ask for "red gold" at a jeweller's. Designers use the subtly different colours to good effect, as in the watch chain described above, or a ring I have which is three linked rings of red, yellow, and white gold. In the 1841 fairy tale King of the Golden River Scottish author John Ruskin imagines a "very odd" drinking mug among "some curious old-fashioned pieces of gold plate":

"The handle was formed of two wreaths of flowing golden hair, so finely spun that it looked more like silk than metal, and these wreaths descended into, and mixed with, a beard and whiskers of the same exquisite workmanship, which surrounded and decorated a very fierce little face, of the reddest gold imaginable, right in the front of the mug, with a pair of eyes in it which seemed to command its whole circumference."

I agree with McGrath of Harlow that the phrase "red gold" sounds significantly more evocative than "gold" alone.

I seem to have heard another old phrase, "good red money," which I associate with traditional English idiom. I suppose "not a red cent" would refer to copper, but I believe "red money" carried too strong a sense of value to mean copper coin. But maybe I'm imagining the phrase having any other meaning than "tainted with blood".


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Gurney
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:11 AM

Next time that you shake hands with Queen Elizabeth, take a look at her Welsh gold wedding ring.

When I bought my bride's ring, it was sold to me as white gold. It looked like silver.   After 39 years of wear, it looks like yellow gold.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:37 PM

That's because white cold is yellow gold with additive's. You can get the ring re-dipped for around £10.00 to make it white again. The info is on the info mouse Wiki;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colored_gold


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:40 PM

Ha..............excuse the apostrophe !! Additives indeed.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 03:45 PM

'Red money' must surely just be copper as 'white money' presumably silver coin.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 09:02 PM

In the Bellows translation of Poetic Edda poem Reginsmal, Sigurd's reply to his dwarven foster father Regin's suggestion that he help him seek his revenge by killing Regin's brother Fafnir, who's turned into a dragon is:

Loud will laugh the sons of Hunding,
They who Eylima of life deprived
If the prince is more desirous
To seek the red-gold rings
Than to avenge the death of his father.

Red gold is probably a gold alloy with a red component. I always thought, when reading this stanza, that it symbolised personal glory over family honour. This legend is my very favourite Norse tale.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Rumncoke
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 04:50 AM

All the Victorian gold items which were in my grandfather's possession were red gold - all but one are now lost, but red gold is just that - gold alloyed with copper so it has a reddish look.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 05:23 PM

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "red-gold" is a "poetic" term meaning "Made of pure or reddish gold."

It dates back to the Old English period.

As specifically gold alloyed with copper, the phrase seems to date only from about 1700, though the editors confess that "In early use [it is] not always easy to distinguish from the simple use of the adjective to describe gold."

So in the ballads it essentially means "gold" regardless.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 05:27 PM

Hello, semi-submersible. "King of the Golden River" was one of my favorite stories when I was a kid. Thanks for the memory.

Have you read it yourself?

TWO BLACK STONES heh heh heh


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Subject: RE: Meaning: 'Red gold'
From: JHW
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 05:00 AM

I'd read through post on post until I came to Malcolm Douglas, authoritative as ever so checked the date.
Thank you Malcolm and RIP


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