Gold Makes Everything Shiny
Ariel, the 24 karat mermaid.
Because gold was so valuable throughout history (and since its heaviness and softness made it not good for much else until recently), it has been primarily used for decoration. Whether it's for jewelry, gold lamé, gold plating, or even making something entirely out of gold, it's a good way to make something pretty.
Of course this is Truth in Television
, but fiction will take it further, freely ignoring those pesky physical limitations of gold as a material (i.e. heavy and soft) — armor
made of gold will be no heavier or softer than steel or iron (and frequently much more effective in combat); lamé will move as if it was silk. This can be Artistic License
just as often as it's carelessness.
And of course buying something like this is a good way to show Conspicuous Consumption
. Having loads of things like this is common for a Fiction 500
character. Heck, even if gold is Worthless Yellow Rocks
, that still means the writers could have gold put everywhere.
A Super Trope
to Gold Tooth
Compare Gold (useful notes)
, Pretty in Mink
, Fluffy Fashion Feathers
, City of Gold
, Bling Bling Bang
, Bling of War
, Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry
, Everything's Better With Sparkles
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Anime and Manga
- HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has Cure Sunshine and her gold lamé chest ribbon.
- One episode of Pokémon featured a golden Sudowoodo.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Dorothy Catalonia seem to have a thing for gold-plated vehicles: a limousine, a space shuttle and a truck.
- From Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, we have Quattro Bagina's golden Hyakku-Shiki. It's (supposedly) an anti-beam coating that granted a measure of protection against long-range weapons. Paptimus Scirroco's mobile suit The O is also golden.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Alejandro Corner's Alvatore and Alvaaron are both gold-plated, simply because he's a rich guy who likes showing off. He even modified his GN Tau Drives to emit golden particles rather than the usual dark red.
- Saint Seiya: The Gold Saints
- In Naruto, the Fourth Kazekage has the Magnet Release bloodline, which allows him to utilize gold dust similar to that of his son Gaara. However, the gold dust is actually extremely heavy, which enabled him in his lifetime to subdue Gaara's Tailed Beast if he wished so.
- In The Smurfs comic book version of "King Smurf", the title character shows off his shiny new gold outfit, which everybody else sees as yellow.
- Jill Masterton in Goldfinger (the film) dies by having her body completely covered in golden paint (based on a false assumption that merely painting skin can smother people), in one of the most iconic scenes of the James Bond franchise.
- Star Wars: C-3P0 gets his gold plating between episodes 2 and 3, shown in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
- In the climax of To Catch a Thief Grace Kelly's Pimped-Out Dress is all gold lamé. She also wears a golden wig.
- Appropriately, in Richie Rich, Richie is loaded with gold-plated versions of everyday items, from pacifiers and rattles to socket wrenches.
- In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Smaug ends up getting covered in molten gold until he shakes it off. It also literally makes him "Smaug the Golden", one of his appellations in the book.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has the Lannister family, who coat everything with gold - platemail, horse armor, even swords. However it's specifically mentioned that this is only gilding (not solid gold armor, as Tyrion Lannister falsely claims at one point to impress someone) designed to boost the image of the Lannisters as the richest and most awesome House in the Seven Kingdoms.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Tower of the Elephant", the tower has a gold door.
- In the Dream of the Rood, the tree out of which Christ's cross was made is alternately sparkling with gold and gems and streaming with blood.
- Martel of The Elenium liberally decorated his armor with gold, thanks to the wealth he acquired as a mercenary. This came back to haunt him when the added weight wore him down faster than Sparhawk in a duel, leading to his death.
- In Dorrie the Little Witch, Dorrie once got a gold cauldron as a reward for capturing a notorious evil witch.
- Inverted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where gold pressed latinum is just to give something to hold the Unobtanium, not that the gold actually made it prettier, as replicators made it Worthless Yellow Rocks. One episode mentions that gold does have some value, if only because there are civilizations out there that don't have replicators.
- Power Rangers Samurai introduces us to The Gold Ranger, with light reflecting off the golden parts of his suit that it becomes all but blinding. Emily's first reaction is "He's so sparkly..."
Mythology and Religion
- Classical Mythology: The fable of King Midas seemed to be against this trope, but the actual Aesop was actually Be Careful What You Wish For, and being against Greed.
- DuckTales did a variation on that with a magic golden duck.
- The mythical city of El Dorado.
- Eastern Orthodox churches' interiors are designed to look mostly golden (sanctuary, chandeliers, etc), sometimes using actual gilding. Prayers written in Bysanthia are also pretty interesting though: one refers to Virgin Mary as a gilded doorknob. Although it would seem as a failed attempt at insult, it's supposed to be poetic and two metaphors are here: Jesus Christ is the door, and gilding back in their days was supposed to be incredibly beautiful; nowadays, gilding household appliances is just poor taste.
- Golden armor shows up as items in some Final Fantasy games.
- Some Castlevania games use gold weapons.
- There are gilded sets of armour in Runescape. This is not as extreme an example as sets of armour made out solid gold, though - decorating armour with gold was not common practice, but there is historical precedent for it.
- Subverted in Minecraft: Sure, you can make a sword out of that gold you just mined. It'll be roughly as effective as one made of wood and break about as quickly. On the other hand, using iron...
- Of course, a gold pickaxe can bore through stone at an incredible rate, but only stone. And it still breaks easily.
- Gold armor looks pretty and shiny, but the protection they give is not much better than leather armor and it breaks just as fast. However, gold armor is still better than having no armor at all.
- Gold armor and gold swords have their weaknesses compensated by having a much higher chance of getting strong enhancements compared to other tools made out of other materials, making gold based items a Glass Cannon.
- Three words: gold-plated food. Golden Apples are one of the most coveted items in the game, being used to make horses breed, cure zombie villagers, or give the player not only several drumsticks' worth of hunger satisfaction, but also regeneration for a short time. A twice-plated ("enchanted") Golden Apple also grants fire resistance, damage resistance, and a limited feather-fall effect. Golden Carrots are also used to breed horses, or give the player regeneration, and are used in potions of night vision. Glistering Melons are pretty much only used in potion-brewing, and aren't edible.
- Moody dwarves in Dwarf Fortress can make artifact gold armor or weapons (the only other way to get gold weapons requires modding the game files); despite being artifacts, they will perform rather poorly (except for blunt weapons, which will be significantly more effective due to their increased mass).
- The triforce in The Legend of Zelda games are always shown as gold triangles.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had the Gold Gauntlets, which were the strongest levels of items that let Link lift stuff normally too heavy for him, like those huuuuuuuuuuuuuge obelisks.
- Meta Example: The two original NES games came on shiny gold cartridges; the first game's box even had a cutout showing it off. A limited edition run on both Ocarina and Majora's Mask also came on a matte-gold cart.
- About a third of the Costume Porn outfits in the Growlanser have gold trimming.
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, the bonus outfits from Belle's world are shiny and golden. Once you complete the princess worlds, their outfits and portraits become golden as well.
- Old-Timey Strong Bad in "That A Ghost" has the line, "I'll be marching around in gold pants in no time!"
- Coronation robes are often gold lamé, whether on its own or with an ermine lining.
- The latter was common for Russian royalty.
- And in medieval and Renaissance Europe, sumptuary laws dictate that only kings (and queens) are allowed to wear cloth of gold—garments made from gold thread.
- Ever seen the Palace of Versailles? Some rooms don't seem to have a square inch without the stuff. And, yes, that includes mattresses.
- When the kings of France went insane of the bling bling, they started out by getting furniture made of solid silver, but little later sanity returned (relatively speaking), and gilded wood became the norm.
- This is the case with the colonial Indonesian soldiers (KNIL I mean.) The Dutch thought that the islanders love shades of yellow (including gold, yes!) and their uniforms were decorated with tons of yellow/gold things...