The extraordinary Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is a famous symbol of love and devotion. Tremendous wealth was required to construct this monument. There is a direct connection to precious metals of the Incas and their ancestors – and particularly, to silver from the Potosí mine high in the Andes Mountains.
The ancient Andeans revered shiny gold -- but there are dark sides to gold also. During my first trip to Peru I was chagrined to see numerious illegal gold mining operations. I recently found good articles discussing some of the associated environmental problems on a website written by Barbara Fraser (http://barbara-fraser.com/ ).