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Gold Makes Everything Shiny

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Because gold was so valuable throughout history (and since its heaviness and softness made it little good for much else for much of that history), 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 and weapons 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 carelessness.

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 Made O' Gold, Gold-Colored Superiority (makes things better as well as just being better), Gold Tooth of Wealth, and Villainous Gold Tooth.

A Sister Trope to Platinum Makes Everything Shinier.

Compare Gold (useful notes), Gem-Encrusted, 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 the Series: Ruby and Sapphire features a golden Sudowoodo, which gains said tone in a scientific attempt to render its weakness to water void.
  • 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.
    • From Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, we have the Akatsuki Gundam, whose gold-plated armor is actually gold paint mixed with numerous mirrors, allowing it to shrug off and even deflect beam weaponry.
      • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray introduces Rudolf Wittgentsien's GOUF Ignited, which has actual gold applied to its armor via a special nano-treatment. In this case it actually is nothing but a very expensive status symbol.
    • 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 Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F', when Frieza turns into Golden Frieza, he stays shiny for nearly the rest of the movie.
  • A subversion from the "World's Strongest Robot" arc in Astro Boy. An impressed Uran assumes Gesicht is made of gold, but he tells her he's actually made from an even rarer energy resistant alloy, this being what puts him in the running for world's strongest robot.

  • Gustav Klimt's later work was done with gold leaf, resulting in shiny, glamorous-looking paintings.
    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Richie Rich has an entire museum with objects made of gold, including a gold suit of armor, which a group of visiting aliens trade with diamonds, because they simply want to drive the people of their homeworld crazy with gold.
  • Uncle Scrooge goes on an adventure to obtain the legendary Golden Fleece for a coat made of solid gold. Scrooge succeeds in his quest and gets his coat, but retrieves his old coat when he discovers that a coat made of solid metal has no insulating value and is thus intolerably cold to wear.


    Fairy Tales 
  • Gold is a recurring element in Pintosmalto for no particular reason other than make fancy things even more fancy. The living marzipan statue's hair is gold thread, the automotive coach is gold, the singing bird is gold, and the third bribe to the queen also contains golden objects.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • In Into the Woods, Cinderella dons a beautiful golden dress to match her golden slippers.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • The Golden Coach: The viceroy uses government money to buy himself a pimped-out golden coach. It's a major plot point for the rest of the film as everyone wants to get their hands on the coach.

  • In A Brother's Price, Keifer intended to have the ceiling of his rooms gold-plated. This is implied to be proof of his decadence and wasteful mindset.
  • 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 decorates his armor with gold, thanks to the wealth he acquired as a mercenary. This comes back to haunt him when the added weight wears 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.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has the world going crazy buying Wonka Bars in hopes of finding one of the five Golden Tickets — which grant admittance to the titular Famed in Story factory — beneath a wrapper. Charlie's ticket is described not merely as gold-coloured, but "pure gold hammered to the thinness of paper".
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen deconstructs this with the Emperor of the Tiste Edur. Every inch of his skin is studded with gold coins which were burned into his flesh, leaving what little skin remains visible horribly scarred. Additionally, the mass of gold is so heavy it has turned what used to be a Long-Haired Pretty Boy into a hulking monster. All that while the Tiste Edur don't even care about gold and only use it in burial rituals to mock their wealth-worshipping neighbouring nation.
  • In Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig takes to wearing a suit of gold-colored cloth to impress people.
  • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the heroes discover a pool containing a beautiful golden statue; then they discover that the pool turns everything into gold, and that the poor fellow in the pool is not a statue at all. Gold Fever briefly ensues, until they decide that this is an accursed place.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
    • The Winkie goldsmith, enhancing the Tin Woodsman's axe:
    another of the Winkies, who was who was a goldsmith, had made an axe-handle of solid gold and fitted it to the Woodman's axe, instead of the old broken handle.
    • The Winkies' gifts:
    The Winkies gave Toto and the Lion each a golden collar; and to Dorothy they presented a beautiful bracelet studded with diamonds; and to the Scarecrow they gave a gold-headed walking stick, to keep him from stumbling; and to the Tin Woodman they offered a silver oil-can, inlaid with gold and set with precious jewels.
    • The Golden Cap, which is presumably golden in some manner, that allows the wearer to summon the Winged Monkeys thrice.
  • The Ogre Downstairs: Lampshaded when the children use their magical chemistry sets to turn household items into gold. They purposely transmute the most bizarrely hideous trinkets, because a horrendous cow-shaped jug is rubbish, but a golden cow-shaped jug is a curio and therefore tremendously valuable to the eccentrically wealthy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: The Lannisters favor golden ornamentation, but it's frequently mentioned that objects like Jaime's hand are the more practical gilded steel rather than solid gold.
  • Inverted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where gold pressed latinum is just to give something to hold the Unobtainium, not actually make 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 seems to be against this trope, but the actual Aesop was actually Be Careful What You Wish For, and being against Greed.
  • 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 the 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.
  • In the Book of Revelation, among the details of the astounding beauty that the New Jerusalem has for citizens to behold, includes roads that were all made of pure gold that shined like "transparent glass."

  • Silverball Mania has a variation, where everything is incredibly shiny due to being covered in silver.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 really, really love gold, as seen in countless official art and studio paint jobs for their miniatures.
    • The God-Emperor of Mankind for example has Terminator armour (considered the best armour type in the game for human characters) that is entirely golden. However, it is made of Aurumite, a super hard material that just looks like gold. The Custodian Guard wear armor of the same material. Furthermore the Emperor travels on warships that are decked in gold.
    • Orks don't use gold as currency (they use their own teeth, which grow back and are readily available in the jaw of the closest ork), instead using it solely as Bling of War. The extremely destructive and obnoxiously wealthy orks known as Flash Gits (British for, well, smarmy rich asshole) use to make their BFGs even shinier.
  • This gold dress and throne in the cover of one Anima: Beyond Fantasy sourcebook. Besides how much that dress must weigh, one wonders how the Empress can move carrying so much gold (and how she manages to fold her arms.)

  • Barbie's 1994 Happy Holidays Dress was of simulated gold lamé; trimmed with white fur. Two of Eden's dresses, and the Ghost of Christmas Past's dress, are decorated with gold. Eden's red dress even has a gold waist ribbon.
  • Several toys get limited edition gold variants, like 70s Bumblebee, Ryubi, Kan-U and Chouhi Gundams and so on.
  • Nintendo's amiibo has a limited edition gold Mario amiibo that is exclusive to North American Wal-Marts.

    Video Games 
  • Golden armor shows up as items in some Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy III has golden swords, but like you'd expect (or perhaps not, given how nearly all other RPGs treat gold) these are useless as weapons. They sell for a neat price though. They're found in Goldor's mansion, which happens to be made entirely of gold.
  • In some Might and Magic games, golden chain and plate armor is the most powerful kind, though it is occasionally unclear if it is golden or merely looks that way (Justified because powerful armor and weapons in the game tend to be enchanted and created by long-lost magic and artifice), and some items are explicitly made of something else while still being shiny and gold-coloured.
  • 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 of solid gold, though — decorating armour with gold was not common practice, but there is historical precedent for it.
    • The golden mining suit is a practical version, as the completed set gives you a 6% experience bonus while wearing it. However, the gold nymph who gives it to you says she just wants to make everyone else as beautiful and golden as herself.
  • 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. It still breaks easily too.
    • Gold armor looks pretty and shiny, but the protection it gives 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: Ocarina of Time had the Gold Gauntlets, which were the strongest levels of items that let Link lift and throw enormous stone obelisks, which are impossible to move otherwise.
    • 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.note  Quite a few other games have gold colored items including discs, game cases and certain accessories (such as a limited edition gold wiimote for Skyward Sword or a limited edition gold New 3DS for the launch of Majora's Mask 3D).
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, the series staple Master Sword can be upgraded twice. Its second form is a powerful red blade. Its final form is more powerful than any other weapon and sports an appropriate gold sheen to boot.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the armor and weapons wielded by the Gerudo people tend to have gold linings.
    • In most games, there will be gold rupees which will always be worth the most (usually at 300 rupees). Naturally, they are shiny and in some games, have a radiant glow.
  • 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.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • New Super Mario Bros. 2: Taken to extremes, in which a large part of the game revolves around amassing a ludicrous number of golden coins. Golden versions of regular enemies such as Goombas, Koopas and Piranha Plants abound, and the new Golden Fire Flower power-up turns Mario himself to gold, enabling him to chuck golden fireballs that turn enemies and blocks into coins.
    • Mario Kart:
    • Mario Party 10: In amiibo Party, if a single amiibo manages to collect every other gold token, they can unlock a token that gives their figure a shiny gold skin on the board. If a Gold Mario amiibo is used, this token will be unlocked from the get-go.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush: Gold Bullet Bills appear in World 3 of Toad Scramble, and are shinier than their non-gold counterparts. They are fired out of cannons dictated by a roulette at the start of each turn, and chase any players in their path to designated safe zones while leaving behind coins for the players to collect.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS: This concept is invoked in the Golden Plains stage (based on world 1 of New Super Mario Bros. 2). Fighters can collect coins on this stage, and acquiring 100 will turn them to gold and strengthen the knockback of their physical attacks. Come Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this stage and its gold gimmick returns, and, additionally, when summoned from a Pokéball, Xerneas will turn its summoner gold with its Geomancy move and bestow the same power boost.
  • Archos in Telepath Tactics is decked out with gold rings, probably to indicate his greed and decadence.
  • Terraria has golden squirrels and golden birds that spawn in the forest from time to time. If you catch them with a net, they can be sold for a lot of money.
  • One of the major story missions in Need for Speed Payback centers around the heist of a pair of gold-plated luxury cars (a Lamborghini Aventador and a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen). Opinions on the cars' golden exteriors differ (Mac loves the "blinged out" look and wants to gold-plate his semi-truck afterwards, while the team's mechanic Rav sees them as tacky eyesores), but in any case, their real value comes from the cutting edge autonomous driving hardware systems set up within them.
  • King K. Rool in the Donkey Kong Country games has his chest and belly covered in a shiny gold armour plating, as compared to his normal green reptilian skin everywhere else. In the first game, he also sports a gold crown and gold bracelets.
  • In the second chapter of Dragon Quest Builders 2, in order to lure the chapter's boss out of hiding, you are required to build the flashiest thing you can: a bar made of solid gold.
  • Dota 2: Some cosmetic items (mostly Immortal-quality items from the Battle Passes) have a rare variant that give them a shiny golden coat.
  • The Wolf and the Waves: The golden mushroom visibly glimmers in a way no other mushroom on the island does.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, you can dye your gear with metallic gold paint to give the appearance of everything you wear looking like shiny gold. For a more wealth-flaunting option, you can purchase a special mount from the Luxury Trader at the low price of 50,000,000 gil. These mounts are basically sparkly, golden versions of existing mounts that spew money.
  • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the Pokémon Gimmighoul, visually based on a Chest Monster, wanders to amass golden coins to deposit into its treasure chest. If you acquire 1,000 of these coins, then your Gimmighoul will evolve into Gholdengo, which is comprised of stacked coins, and launches them at its opponents in battle.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Mel as the richest person in Piltover is covered in gold, from her jewelry to flecks of gold on her cheeks. Some of it even seems to be implanted in her body considering it remains on even in situations where she's otherwise naked.
  • DuckTales (1987):
    • In the Five-Episode Pilot, the 2.2 tonne gold coins and golden temple in the Valley of the Golden Suns.
    • In the Grand Finale, everything turned into gold by the Golden Goose.
  • Many of the things in Richie Rich's house are gold.
  • As with Goldie of Goldie Gold and Action Jack.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise decorates a carriage meant for her and Jimmy with gold. Peep promply steals it.
  • Futurama:
    • Bender from Universe 1 in "The Farnsworth Parabox" decided to be gold plated.
    • Fry attempts to Deconstruct this Trope in the earlier "Hell is Other Robots" when the Robot Devil challenges him and Leela to a fiddling contest with a solid gold fiddle. (A Shout-Out to the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".)
    Fry: Wouldn't a solid gold fiddle weigh a hundred pounds and sound terrible?
    Devil: Well, it's mostly for show.
  • In The Simpsons, after Chester Lampwick wins the lawsuit to prove he invented Itchy and Scratchy, he buys a solid gold house.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: Ilana's mecha-like armor Corus is gold and is often very shiny, particularly when Octus washed it off with water.
  • Wildfire: Diabolyn tried to win over the people of Dar Shan by wearing a dress made of Golden fabric. It failed when Princess Sara revealed where the gold came from.
  • Partially deconstructed in an episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. A wealthy young woman with a crush on Lifeline included in her barrage of gifts to him, a solid gold helicopter. While its reflective qualities made it superb protection from laser fire during a Cobra attack, it was too heavy to get off the ground.

    Real Life 
  • Coronation robes are often gold lamé, whether on its own or with an ermine lining.
    • The latter was common for Russian royalty.
    • 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 over the bling bling, they started out by getting furniture made of solid silver, but a little later sanity returned (relatively speaking), and gilded wood became the norm.
  • This is the case with the colonial Indonesian soldiers (KNIL). The Dutch thought that the islanders loved shades of yellow (including gold) and their uniforms were decorated with tons of yellow/gold things...
  • The Golden Coach, a gold leaf covered carriage owned by the Dutch monarch.
  • Illuminated manuscripts were a big thing in the Middle Ages, especially among Christian scribes. Gold was used for accents in illustrations, for words that the scribe wanted to emphasize, and in one case even as a stain for an entire page. Sometimes gold powder was used as an ink base, but other times gold leaf was cut and pasted to the page. Once people figured out how, it became popular to apply gold leaf to a substance called "gesso", which created a slightly-raised surface and gave the impression of solid gold on the page.
  • Donald Trump absolutely loves gold. In his Trump Tower penthouse, or the Mar-a-Lago estate, or his private jet — gold leaf is everywhere.


King Homer

Homer fantasizes about what he'll do with the money if he wins the lottery.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / GoldMakesEverythingShiny

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