Switzerland is known for a number of distinctive qualities: the Alpine mountain range, supremacy in international banking, intricately hand-crafted watchmaking, its army's multi-tool pocket knife.
However, perhaps more than anything else, the Swiss are renowned all over the world for their unparalleled experience in refining gold.
Switzerland is home to more major refineries than any other country in the world. It boasts several of the most trusted and well-respected refining companies, as well.
Moreover, a staggering amount of the world's newly refined gold passes through Switzerland at some point -- by some estimates, as much as 70% of the global supply of freshly mined gold each year!
In terms of total tonnage, an average of more than 2,000 metric tons of gold are imported into Switzerland for refining on an annual basis.
In fact, four of the most important gold refiners in the world are all clustered in locations in Switzerland that cover an area only a few square miles in size in a place called Ticino.
The country is home to no less than six world-renowned gold refiners, including Valcambi SA, Metalor Technologies SA, and Argor-Heraeus SA.
PAMP Suisse: World-Class Gold Refiner
Chief among these "Big Four" companies is PAMP Suisse. PAMP is owned by the parent company MKS, which is headquartered in Geneva.
In addition to the high volume of gold that PAMP refines each year, the firm is also well-known for the exceptionally high quality of the gold bars it produces.
You might initially think of gold jewelry and luxury gold watches as items that the Swiss might be recognized for. While this is certainly true, the vast majority of the gold that comes from Switzerland is in the form of gold bars. In terms of quality, trust, and expertise, Swiss-made gold bars are unquestionably considered the best in the world.
This is one of the main reasons why PAMP Suisse is an approved member of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), a trade association that upholds rigorous standards for the types of gold bars that are acceptable for trade in the exclusive London gold market. In fact, the LBMA is likely the most important industry organization for the entire global gold trade.
While Switzerland is the world's most prestigious gold refining hub, the city of London is the gold vault capital of the planet. LBMA-approved gold bars are accepted without question by banks and traders all around the world, from London to Singapore to the Shanghai Gold Exchange in China.
It should therefore come as no surprise that a great deal of these LBMA-approved gold bars -- often referred to as "Good Deliery" bars if they meet the standard size requirement of 400 troy ounces -- make their way through the Swiss gold industry.
Fittingly, this places PAMP Suisse on the so-called "Good Delivery List" of refineries that are certified by the LBMA. All six of Switzerland's top gold refiners are on the list.
PAMP Suisse not only carries on this world-class Swiss pedigree in all of its bullion products; the company has also won fans all over the world for the variety of distinctive designs that it offers on its gold bars.
In addition, PAMP has in the past manufactured a number of unique shapes for its gold bullion that were inspired by jewelry and other ornamental uses of the yellow metal. Many of these items were popular in Asian markets.
In terms of gold bar designs, perhaps the most famous -- and most highly demanded by investors and traders -- is the Lady Fortuna gold bar.
Lady Fortuna: Goddess of Fortune
You might be wondering: Who is Lady Fortuna and what does she have to do with gold?
Fortuna is goddess of fortune in the pantheon of Greek and Roman mythology. In other words, she embodied the concepts of chance, luck, and fate to the religious adherents of Ancient Rome. To the Greeks, she was known as Tyche.
Today, she is often simply referred to as Lady Fortune.
The concept of a goddess of fortune even predates the Greco-Roman ideas of this deity: Earlier in antiquity, Fortuna was known as Automatia, a name that reflects the unpredictability (chance) yet inevitability (fate) of things beyond the direct control of human affairs.
As is true of virtually every deity in the pantheon of pre-Christian mythology, Fortuna is incorporated into the lineage of many other gods. She is the daughter of Zeus (Jupiter) and she is even associated with some Egyptian gods and goddesses like Isis.
Lady Fortuna is also closely related to more modern notions of "Lady Justice," a statue of whom is often seen outside of courthouses. Both personas are often depicted wearing a blindfold. This is generally taken to mean that "justice is blind" in the latter sense. However, the same also holds true of fortune and luck.
Nonetheless, it was believed that the whims and caprice of Fortuna had some connection to the virtue and character of an individual person or of an entire civilization. If a person had defects in their character, or the values of a civilization were out of line, they were believed to be inviting bad fortune upon themselves.
On the other hand, she could also bring good fortune. Another symbol closely associated with the goddess Fortuna is the cornucopia. This is the "Horn of Plenty" that is often seen during the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. It is shown filled with lush fruit or flowers and is a widely understood symbol of abundance.
Some versions of the cornucopia, like the one includes with certain depictions of Lady Fortuna, are pouring out coins or gold rather than food. This exemplifies the connection that can be made with abundant wealth and the contemporary connotation of "fortune."
Similarly, Lady Fortuna was said to constantly operate a "Wheel of Fortune" (from which the name of the popular American game got its inspiration). She would spin the wheel in different directions at random, representing her fickle nature and the arbitrary way that luck happens.
Again, the use of this wheel of fortune (in Latin, "rota fortunae") imagery as a depiction of fate or an explanation for chance occurrences actually predates the Greeks or Romans. Like Fortuna herself, the concept is thoroughly ancient in origin.
Shrines and statues dedicated to the goddess have been discovered by archaeologists at different locations all around the world, with some dating to at least 2,500 years ago.
In addition, Fortuna and all of her various symbols were still part of popular culture throughout the medieval period in Europe. This was despite the spread of Christianity, supplanting the old pagan beliefs of the Roman religion.
Thus, even Christian theologians and European writers living within Christendom from the Middle Ages onward have acknowledged and referenced Lady Fortuna, although with the caveat that she shouldn't be worshiped as was done by the ancients.
The literary device of Lady Fortuna standing atop or balancing upon a wheel or round rock of fortune that moved in random directions was often used by writers and poets in both ancient times and for centuries thereafter. It helped to describe the blind and unreasoning outcomes that were due to good or bad fortune -- such as a worthy king's tragic downfall.
This is essentially the origin of the words "unfortunate," "misfortune," and the like.
You can find references to Fortuna in Shakespeare, other classical works, and even in modern popular culture. She was often the subject of paintings by the Dutch Masters of the 16th century and was featured in one of the distinctive wood-cut engravings by Albrecht Dürer.
Fortuna was celebrated each year on a particular Midsummer's Day that was dedicated to her specifically during ancient times. By varying accounts, this fell on June 11th or June 24th.
In a more esoteric sense, Fortuna is also associated with certain aspects of astrology.
PAMP Suisse Lady Fortuna Gold Bar Design
The design of the PAMP Lady Fortuna gold bar is set against a proof-like background, meaning the field of the bar exhibits an eye-appealing mirrored contrast to the raised devices (relief). The bar also has a raised edge around the perimeter, which helds protect the relief elements from wear and also helps the bars functionally stack on top of one another neatly.
This vision of Fortuna is therefore perfectly in line with centuries of history. It makes her instantly recognizable.
In addition to this accurate portrayal, the association of Lady Fortuna with gold and wealth is also well-founded. She was not only the bringer of tragic fates or pure luck, but she could also bestow great material wealth.
Each PAMP Suisse Lady Fortuna gold bar has the advantage of coming sealed in hard plastic packaging that allows you to view the bar without having to physically handle it. This is especially important with extra-pure .9999 fine gold, not just for aesthetic reasons, but because gold that is this pure can much more easily bend or warp when exposed to contact or pressure because the gold is so soft at this purity.
Another added benefit of the PAMP packaging is the fact that it includes the gold bar's assay card (or assay certificate), which is also easily able to be viewed through the plastic packaging. Every assay certificate is a proof of authenticity.
The assay certificate includes several key pieces of information such as the assayer's signature, which provides confirmation from the person who checked and tested the bar after the manufacturing process was finished that it met all of the strict standards, specifications, and requirements of a PAMP Suisse bullion bar.
Furthermore, the assay card lists the bar's gold purity, its weight in terms of pure gold, and a unique serial number that can be used to identify the gold bar and distinguish it from any other PAMP product.
The back side of the bar design bears the PAMP Suisse logo and the "ESSAYEUR FONDEUR" stamp, which is essentially a "maker's mark" that all of the prestigious Swiss refineries place on their brand-name products.
Below, the weight "1 OUNCE" and the composition "FINE GOLD 999.9" are inscribed in bold lettering. The unique serial number appears at the very bottom.
There is also contact information for PAMP Suisse's headquarters, including its address, email address, phone number, and fax number.
As an acronym, "PAMP" stands for "Produits Artistiques Meteaux Precieux," which is French for the roughly translated phrase "Artistic Products Precious Metals."
One more detail on the packaging of a PAMP Suisse Lady Fortuna 1 oz gold bar is the claim of "SWISS MADE." This is somewhat similar to the notion of "Made In the U.S.A.," indicating that any good or product carrying this designation is truly made in Switzerland and upholds a certain pedigree of Swiss craftsmanship.
Gainesville Coins carries a huge variety of gold and silver products from PAMP Suisse. Our inventory includes a number of different sizes to choose from, as well, ranging from as little as one gram to as large as large as one kilogram -- the equivalent of 32.15 troy ounces!
The Lady Fortuna design, one of PAMP's trademark themes, is also offered in various sizes. It is used on both gold and silver bullion.
Why Buy Gold? Investing in Gold Bullion
Gold has remained a stable store of value for thousands of years. That made it the ideal form of money in the ancient world where Lady Fortuna originated.
With gold no longer directly connected to the monetary system today (except for its use as foreign reserves for central banks), the yellow metal is now more commonly used by investors, hedge funds, and retirees as a way to hedge against inflation.
This means that as inflation robs currencies like the dollar of their purchasing power over time, gold and silver help provide a bulwark against such depreciation. This is true of all currencies around the world throughout history.
Protect your present and future wealth with gold bullion. Buy the PAMP Suisse 1 oz Gold Bar (Lady Fortuna Design), struck from .9999 fine gold, assay certificate included, from Gainesville Coins online today!
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