Professional Jeweler Archive: Virgin Gold

June 2000

Precious Metals & Bench: News

Virgin Gold

The Canadian Placer Gold Millennium Coin is minted from freshly mined gold with no history of use

Jewelry and collectibles using the millennium theme have covered a wide range of styles, but you may not have found one to intrigue your most discerning customers. A collaboration between renowned gem sculptor Thomas Richard McPhee and Canadian Placer Gold Sales Ltd. may have produced just what you need.

The 20mm coin pictured here is minted from .999 fine gold recovered in 1999 from placer mining operations in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia (a placer deposit is one of sand or gravel containing eroded particles of gold or other valuable material). “The fact the gold has never been used before is an important point for jewelers to share with their customers, “ says Mark Castagnoli, president of Canadian Placer. “There are very few other sources in the industry for virgin gold jewelry.” The placer gold mines are small-scale private partnerships and family operations.

Symbols of Life & Balance

The coin bears two carvings by Thomas McPhee. The sun image stands for light and the origin of life, a powerful millennium theme. The female figure on the reverse holds scales, representing the balance or relationship between the sun and the value and beauty of gold.

Beside her is inscribed the Latin phrase Aurum Salus Liber (Gold, Security, Freedom). These words express the qualities inherent in pure gold. “Security” reflects the enduring value of and demand for gold, as well as its resistance to rust or other forms of deterioration, says Castagnoli. A buyer can feel secure that gold bought today will last for millennia.

“Freedom” reflects gold’s enduring power to free its owner from the chaos of the financial world. It has always been a secure and mobile source of wealth, adds Castagnoli.


Canadian Placer has specialized in fine jewelry lines using natural placer gold since 1978. Castagnoli oversees all aspects of production, including acquisition of raw gold.

McPhee is a Canadian sculptor best known for his unique gem carving. From his studio in Vancouver, BC, he has collaborated with Canadian Placer on a variety of pieces over the past 20 years.

These coins are part of a limited edition of 2,000. They are $1,000 each suggested retail, and the maximum order per client is 200.

According to Castagnoli, many of the coins will be sold to designers to be incorporated into their jewelry pieces. Others will be sold to retail jewelers for use in jewelry or for sale as collectible coins.

Each coin is sold with a certificate of authenticity signed by Castagnoli and McPhee.

  • Canadian Placer Gold Sales Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., Canada; (800) 665-0788 or (604) 681-3937, fax (604) 681-2746,

– by William H. Donahue Jr.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications