In an era of uncertainty and increasing poverty and hardship, gold got increasingly concentrated in the hands of the church, leading to such extravagant constructs as this reliquary, one of hundreds built during the latter half of the first millennium ACE and well into the second, to house the relics (bones, limbs, blood, ashes what have you) of “saints” that you could pray to, to intercede with god/Christ on your behalf.
The ethics apart, the technique that went into making this and similar pieces is remarkable indeed.
A Merovingian (Carolingian? I should have clicked the captions as well) crown. Note the use of heavy, uncut stones inset in gold again.