What does the gold color mean in Psychology?
Apr 11, 2023
The color gold shines just by existing. Its chromatic characteristics make it stand out from other colors such as red and blue.
But it is not only for this reason that this color attracts attention, but for the precious metal with which it has traditionally been associated: gold. And it is that this element is very rare in nature, making it very precious.
That is why the color gold has been closely associated with wealth and power, among many other meanings. Here Let's see what the gold color means in Psychology, in addition to a few historical curiosities and current uses of this color.
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The golden color: how it is obtained and characteristics
The golden color is one of the rarest and most striking colors. It receives the name of the most characteristic metal of this color, gold, and it is actually a shade of yellow, with a wavelength between 565 and 590 nanometers. The luminosity of this color will depend on the shining effect of the reflectance of the material.
Although it can be obtained by mixing artificial pigments and other synthesized compounds in the laboratory, what is traditionally gold has always been made with a small amount of gold. The nuances are obtained from the metals with which it is mixed. Thus, yellow gold or the most normal one is obtained by mixing it with silver and copper. Red gold, most used in the past, contains copper.
This metal is characterized by resisting the action of acids and alkalis, as well as not rusting. There is only one way to modify its chemical properties, and that is to submit it to the action of a mixture of concentrated hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, which produces aqua regia, a substance that can damage the gold.
What does the gold color mean in Psychology?
The number of meanings associated with the color gold is very wide, all of them related to the strong connection between the color and the material from which it was originally obtained. Although this color is related to yellow, their meanings are not the same. To think of the color gold is to think of the precious metal from which it is obtained..
At first we can mention aspects such as wealth, power, abundance, ambition and luxury. It has also been associated with life and happiness, symbolizing success throughout life and in multiple aspects, such as work and family.
It has been associated with fidelity. This is due to the characteristics of the metal from which it was obtained, since gold is a chemical element that does not combine with other elements when it is molten. For this reason the wedding rings, which represent the fidelity that the spouses will have with each other, are made with this material.
Although money does not bring happiness, it helps to achieve it, and that is why the color gold has also been associated in equal parts with wealth and happiness. Everything that serves to gain wealth is related to this color, such as having some very outstanding qualities (p. g., a great singer has 'a golden voice'). Even though they are not things of this color, the word 'gold' is often used to refer to things that are very expensive, such as oil is 'black gold', porcelain and ivory are 'black gold'. white'...
The Golden It is also associated with pride and merit.. It is the color associated with fame and awards, which in themselves represent the outstanding qualities of a person and his victory in obtaining them. There are many awards that are of this color and are also called 'golden' or 'golden': the Oscars are gold statuettes, the Golden Globes are awarded in the cinema...
Gold is undoubtedly the color of luxury, excess wealth and exorbitant prices. Gold and diamond suits are reserved for special situations, such as important events and parties. Gold jewelry, which is sometimes so flashy that it is no longer elegant, is a symbol of excess wealth, a display of power. Objects that cannot be made of gold receive a bath of this material and their price increases and they receive the label of luxury items.
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Cultural and historical meanings
Although the meanings given to the color gold throughout history are not far from those mentioned in the previous section, it is worth highlighting some curiosities in relation to this so peculiar colour.
In the Middle Ages, alchemists were associated with this color. This is because they were determined to transform all matter into the precious precious metal, and they focused their efforts on obtaining and search for the Philosopher's Stone, which had the power to turn everything it touched into gold, a power shared with the fable of the king Midas.
Since gold is actually a shade of yellow, has also been associated with the Sun. The rays of the sun king are normally referred to as golden. Another curiosity related to this is how the Incas believed that gold was, in truth, the blood of the Sun. In the same way that this material was associated with the star king, silver, traditionally seen as its antagonist, was associated with the Moon in many cultures.
In painting, the use of gold has always been linked to paintings with pious motifs. For example, Russian icons in Orthodox churches still have backgrounds with this color to this day. It is a color that usually goes well with earth tones, and also serves to enrich the palette of reds and burgundies. The great Austrian painter Gustav Klimt associated this color with nobility, and his paintings, such as 'The Kiss', could not do without this color.
As we saw before, wedding rings are not made of gold just because the material has a high value, but because lasts long and retains the appearance of the first day. Gold never loses its value, nor is it thrown away. Resist, as any good marriage should. In addition, after fifty years of marriage, the Golden Wedding is celebrated.
A curiosity, related to how this element is seen with luxury, is the case of the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. This peculiar character organized a great meal in 1980 in which he literally celebrated luxury. Gold cutlery was given to the diners, gold cups and potatoes, vegetables and roasts were served covered, as one would expect, in gold leaf.
Some examples of how the color gold has been associated with evil and negative aspects we have in the case of Thomas More who, in 1516, published a narrative whose plot took place in the country of the Utopia. Here the prisoners wore chains made of gold and performed forced labor.
Another case is that of the James Bond movie goldfinger, from (1964) by director Guy Hamilton. In the film, there are people covered in gold, who pretend to see themselves as a symbol of wealth, however, the gold does not allow their skin to perspire and they drown in their own vanity.
In astrology, gold is associated with the sign of Leo (July and August), which is when the sun is at the top of the sky. In turn, the gold it is associated with the monarchy and the high levels of the nobility. Gold is associated with the king, in turn, the lion is the king of animals, and the Sun is the king of the stars.
King Francis I of France commissioned 13,600 gold buttons to adorn a single suit. In the 16th century this man was considered the most elegant of his time. However, to ensure that this continued to be the case, the king decreed that no person of rank below the crown prince could wear golden garments.
In heraldry, the golden color is considered one of the most important. Normally, shields cannot have more than one metal represented, being either gold or silver, but there is an exception to this rule: the Pope's shield. The colors of the Vatican flag are gold and white, with the shield in the white part, made of gold and silver keys, representing the gates of heaven guarded by Saint Peter.
Next we will see two quite interesting uses of the gold color, both in the field of health, although far from scientific evidence, and in the commercial field, specifically in the marketing.
The colors, in themselves, do not have healing or magical properties; however, today it has certain uses that could be considered, to a greater or lesser extent, related to changes in behavior, although this is quite controversial.
In the Asian art of Feng Shui there is a rule of placing yellow and gold flowers or decorations in a room when looking to fix communication problems with people important to oneself.
Although, as we have seen, colors do not have any magical properties that cure problems of any kind, it is worth mentioning that in the Alternative medicine, specifically chromotherapy, uses this color to theoretically combat psychological disorders such as depression.
They do this because they believe that gold balances the mind, gives energy and brings happiness, although there is no scientific support for these types of claims. Following the line of beliefs without scientific foundation, in other alternative medicines it is believed that gold is used to transmute negative energies. For example, they recommend meditating for 10 or 15 minutes using the color gold to facilitate the flow of words.
Leaving aside the spiritual and mystical world of chromotherapy and similar beliefs, we move on to something more real such as marketing. It is in this field that gold is used to advertise luxury products or services. As this color is associated with luxury, the minimum that they offer a product under the motto that it is gold, gold or 'golden' justify being able to sell it at exorbitant prices.
Premium services, that is, they offer something that at a normal price or for free, cannot be obtainable, they are usually sold with gold tones, which in themselves are eye-catching and captivating to the customer.
However, and resorting to the saying, 'all that glitters is not gold', that it is gold does not mean that it is better, it is simply another strategy to sell a product or service.
- Clarke, T. and Costall, A. (2008). The Emotional Connotations of Color: A Qualitative Investigation. Color Research and application, 33(5): 406-410.
- Heller, E. (2004). Color psychology. How colors act on feelings and reason. Editorial Gustavo Gill.