Silver in ancient times symbolized the soul, gold refers to the spirit.

The new-made Master Mason has gone through a figurative death and come out of it resurrected as a new being, “the perfected Initiate has mastered his lower nature and has become the Perfect Man.” He is no longer ruled by materialistic views or wants but now focuses on the more spiritual plain.

Knowing as I do the deeply embedded apocryphal history of Free Masonry I am guessing that as far back as the Egyptian Pharaohs silver (the “soul“) expresses the earthly visceral elements of humanity; and that gold (the “spirit“) captures the ethereal elevation. I am quite in agreement concerning the superiority of gold though I hasten to affirm that I like both. Indeed both metals are historically highly esteemed.  The only oddities for me are platinum and white gold because the first is unusual and generally misunderstood, while the other is in my opinion contrary to the redeeming buttery yellow of gold. Platinum is a silvery-white metal interestingly deriving its name from an alteration of “platina” itself a diminutive of “plata” for silver.

The white silver metal known as platinum is the heaviest of the precious metals, weighing almost twice as much as karat gold. It is dense, ductile and impervious to corrosion. It is the least reactive metal and it has a very high melting point.

But I can tell you from my experience in this sometimes arcane sphere of silver and gold that the two are seldom entwined either by preference or otherwise. They each have a singular allure for a separate and distinct audience. I have for example only ever heard people willingly alter their preference for gold to platinum for purposes of strict structural integrity or conscious deceit (namely, to camouflage ornamentation as less expensive silver).

GOLD AND SILVER are among the most widespread symbols in the history of religions. Their exceptional physical qualities make themlike their celestial counterparts, the sun and the moonunusually powerful symbols of spiritual realities. As a physical substance, gold is quite literally incorruptible: it is highly resistant to chemical reactions and is immune to the corrosion that affects baser metals. It is also intrinsically luminous, seeming to shine with a light of its own. Thus no speculative leap was required to make gold the universally acknowledged symbol of life and the spirit and of perfection and immortality. There is a certain predictability to the symbolic value of gold that explains its universal appeal throughout history and in virtually every corner of the world.

Silver too is naturally suited to serve as a religious symbol. Its faultless whiteness has made it a symbol of purity andin the appropriate historical contextsof chastity. Purified in the refiner’s fire, it becomes a symbol of purification and perfection. Associated with its silvery counterpart in the night sky, it is integrated into an entire complex of lunar symbolism that includesnot surprisinglythe great purifier, water.

For a large number of people silver and gold constitute the foundation of those cherished items of value which are often preserved in safekeeping whether fancy jewellery boxes or subterranean vaults. The portability of silver and gold is no accident in that our instinctive attraction to these shiny diminutive objects coincides conveniently with the Nomadic instinct arising from flight or fight. One is reminded of the many comic illustrations of what people choose to retrieve and carry with them in the event of sudden evacuation. Furniture or stores are not usually among them.

In my so-called “golden years” (yet another occult allusion) I have whether unwittingly or by design devoted as much time to distillation as acquisition of silver and gold.  Similarly my focus is as much buoyed by creditability as solidity; that is, I have reduced my criteria to what I consider constitutes value and longevity. The trinkets are gone. The substance remains.