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Gold Is Yellow

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You want yellow? Wario show you yellow! (Note the pot next to Wario which is colored more realistically.)

"Gold is better. I mean, yellow. The poor man's gold."

In real life, gold has an earthy yellow tone. While there are a wide range of different varieties of the color gold, most are unsaturated tones of yellow and orange-yellow, and there are a variety of colors of gold depending on the alloy added such as silver (for white gold or electrum) or copper (for rose gold). But in fiction, it's not always that way.

In illustrated or animated works, "golden" objects are often colored a bright, saturated yellow. There are a few reasons why this may happen. Maybe the creators don't find a realistic golden color snappy or attention-grabbing enough. Maybe gold tones are harder to achieve than simply yellow. Maybe they feel a more realistic tone might be mistaken for bronze or brass. Whatever it may be, expect to see yellow coins, yellow crowns, and other yellow treasures.

Subtrope of Artistic License – Geology and Artistic License – Chemistry. Compare Water Is Blue, Fire Is Red, Wind Is Green, Yellow Earth, Green Earth, All-Natural Gem Polish, and Real Is Brown. Not to be confused with Worthless Yellow Rocks, although the two could overlap.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Film — Animated 
  • DreamWorks Animation: Averted in both The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado where gold objects are given both realistic tones and realistic shading.
    • The Prince of Egypt: The pharaohs, queen, princes, priests, and people hanging around the courtroom all wear various gold collars, wristbands, and jewelry, while Zapporah wears gold earrings. All of it is a muted yellow or yellowish-brown.
    • The Road to El Dorado: While the golden objects tends to be in the yellow range, it's a muted yellow and not all that shiny, with a light reflectivity consistent with real world gold. The gold head Chel was stealing has a yellow face, while the back of the head is yellow-brown.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Gold is one of the usable materials to upgrade weapons, as displayed with a bright yellow coloring, its item description cites it as mainly used for decoration. In one side-mission, gold coins are collected with vintage yellow, and they're later stated by an examiner to be not gold at all.
  • Diablo III: Zigzagged. Gold coins are bright yellow, but in Greed's realm, where almost everything is plated with gold, the trimmings have more realistic tones.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Series standard Septims, also called "Gold" (and "Drakes" in Morrowind), appear to be partially made of gold, and have a dull yellow color.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: All gold is presented as a bright yellow, but with white sections to represent reflections:
    • Gold. The currency, the icon of which is two yellowish gold coins.
    • Treasure Chests, which have golden-yellow trim.
    • Adventure Story:
    • The Gold Fish enemy resembles a fish made of gold. In EBF 4, it's all yellowish (though properly shaded), but in EBF 5, some parts are made of a more brownish metal.
  • Escape Lala: Enforced. All golden coins are bright yellow, including Hint Coins, which are scattered around the map. Due to the game's Retraux style, finding these coins is a literal Pixel Hunt. You will often have to click an area as small as 1 or 2 pixels. However, the yellow coloration of these pixels (which is admittedly sometimes a duller yellow due to darker lighting) helps them stand out enough for players to find them.
  • Garden Gnome Carnage: Golden bricks are bright yellow, as seen in the trailer.
  • Gems of War:
    • The coins, which are the Global Currency, of Gold, are yellow with white light reflections and some shadows, shown in the top left of the battle screen, among other places.
    • The Treasure Gnomes and a few other characters are shown against piles of treasure, including gold. The gold is muted or yellow-brown, and not all that shiny -that's reserved for gems.
    • Daemon Greed has a pile of gold on his attack card. It's muted brown-yellow and very not shiny.
  • Minecraft: All golden items, included but not limited to golden armor, golden tools, golden apples and carrots, gold ingots and gold blocks, are colored a bright yellow.
  • In Moshi Monsters, the anthropomorphic gold coins are yellow in appearance.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Rings, which are also sometimes called Gold Rings, are traditionally colored yellow. Some newer games give them a more gold-like texture, though.
  • Sly Cooper: All the gold coins the player collects are yellow in appearance.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Averted in Super Mario Bros., where the coins Mario collects have a dull golden color. Played straight in almost every other game in the series, which instead makes them solid yellow.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, the gold gristnote  in the in-universe video game SBURB is a bright yellow cube.

    Web Video 
  • While the color associated with right-wing libertarianism on the political compass is usually purple, in the Jreg series "Centricide" it is colored yellow because "it definitely works better aesthetically." Various ideologies that fall within this section of the compass are tinted varying shades of yellow (Anarcho-Capitalist, Libertarian, Minarchist, Hoppean, etc.) and considering they are defined by their greed and wealth, this was the intention.
  • Lampshaded by Robbaz. While playing My Summer Car, Robbaz spray paints his car's wheels' rims a color that he initially thinks is gold, only to realize it's actually yellow. He calls yellow "the poor man's gold."

    Western Animation 
  • The Fairly OddParents!: The Golden Gut and the Gilded Arches (who only appears in webtoons and video games) are represented with the color yellow.
  • The Golden Touch: Zig-zagged. Many of the golden objects, whether turned gold by Midas' touch or not, have realistic tones and shading. However, some objects, such as the gold coins, appear more yellow due to their simplistic shading.
  • ThunderCats (1985): In the episode "All That Glitters", the gold is yellow-brown in small amounts, and unsaturated yellow in large amounts. But when the focus is on a golden object, it, well, glitters, very unrealistically. None of the gold was very well refined; it was considered waste from refining Thundrillium.

    Real Life 
  • The English word 'gold' is derived from a proto-Germanic word for "yellow". In modern German, Gold has cognate spelling with the English word 'gold' (pronounced "gould" in English, but "golt" in German) and "yellow" is gelb while "money" is Geld.
  • The "official" Anarcho-Capitalism flag is half yellow and half black, yellow representing liberty and the return to a precious metal-backed monetary policy that most directly advocate.
  • The Swedish flag substitutes yellow for gold.
  • While Australia's official flag is based on the Union Jack, in blue, white & red, the nations sporting teams have historically used green and gold as their colour scheme, although the gold was usually actually yellow. One example of this the "Boxing Kangaroo" flag, most often associated with sports teams. The design was created in 1983 as part of the America's Cup Yacht Race, which the Australian entry won. Billy Birmingham remarked in one of his humorous comedy recordings:
    Tony Grieg: The Aussies looking very smart in their Canary Yellow here.
    Bill Lawry: Canary Yellow? That's Australian Gold my friend, and don't you fucking forget it!
  • In medieval heraldry, noble houses use gold in lieu of yellow as it's considered a "metal" tincture.