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I heard that the phrase, ‘stinking rich’ comes from gold miners who
mined gold in telurium rich areas stank from inhaling telurium dusts
which was absorbed by the blood from the lungs and exhaled or sweated
out as a vile smell.

Dont know if it is true but it is a good story I think.

David Cruickshank (Australia)

Interesting! Didn’t me take long to realise the strange smell/taste
is an indication that telurium, from a silver blackening liquid,
touched my skin.

Best to avoid physical contact with telurium compounds, they go
straight through skin.


Hello David,

This is true. Elemental tellurium has low toxicity but does produce
extremely bad breath and body odour. This occurs at very low
concentrations of the element (as little as 10 microgrammes per cubic
meter of air). Those that come into contact with tellurium are
advised to take vitamin C supplements as this reduces the smell of
tellurium on the breath.

For those that are interested in the more ‘quirky’ properties of some
elements I can recommend ‘Natures Building Blocks’ by John Emsley.
This about tellurium is included in this book as well as
fascinating about all the other elements.

Charles Allenden

You certainly reek of garlic if you ingest or handle tellurium or
most tellurides so if that is the derivation then it would most
likely be an aussie saying.

Nick Royall

I am wondering if Gold Telluride has this effect and if not, does it
have a place in jewelry?

Charles noted the low melting point of Gold Telluride at 471 C but I
have to wonder if that temperature, hotter than a household oven,
would be a problem in practical jewelry work or maybe more of a
benefit? What is the colour of gold telluride?

Also, yes the particular adverse health effects of gold telluride
are important… as they are for any chemical coming in contact with
the skin because of allergies etc. Does anyone have on

But think of it this way. If chemists can easily melt the pure gold
out of your gold telluride bracelet or necklace, you know its value
in gold content. Then why would you want gold telluride instead of
16 carat gold? Maybe for novelty value. You may even prefer the
colour. If you say the colour of gold is necessary for its "beauty"
rating, then that is arguable. For example I posted long ago to
Orchid about the gold colouring of kitchenware. Most bowls, plates
ete with gold coloured trimming are not marked on the back as gold.
If you find them marked as gold they command many times the price of
yellow trim not rated as gold but YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BY