Gold is undoubtedly one of the most useful metals in the world.
People have been obsessed with gold for millennia, it was used for decoration, jewelry, and exchange. Nowadays, the use of gold is endless. Precious metals are essential for many of us, they are used in various applications, from the tech industry to decorations, the health industry, and even for cooking.
Gold is all around us.
1. Gold is used as a currency
Historically gold was used to pay for goods and services. Because of its high value and limited supply, it was used as a medium for exchange and money for a long time. The first gold transaction dates back to over 6000 years ago. People were using pieces of gold and silver as a means of payment. Gold coins were used in transactions up through the early 1900s, when paper currency took over. Even today it is possible to use gold as a currency in some countries, although it is not very common.
2. Gold is used for making jewelry
From the most remote ages until today gold was used for making pendants. Gold accessories are a sign of prestige and luxury. It is estimated that around 78% of gold each year is used for making jewelry.
3. Gold is used for investment
Gold can be shaped in bars, coins, rounds and nuggets. Gold has proven to be a wise investment throughout history, especially in times of crisis.
4. Gold is used for making electronics
Precious metals conduct electricity well and do not rust/corrode. Electrical resistibility of gold is the lowest of all metals, except for silver and copper. But silver and copper readily tarnish causing contact resistance to increase. For low current, low voltage conditions and low contact force, gold is often the best choice technically and in some applications such as automotive RF connectors and MEMS switch contacts, it is the only choice.
Electrical compounds made with gold are highly reliable, we can find them in cell phones, laptops, computers, screens, GPS units, calculators, and other small and large electronics.
The biggest challenge is to recover gold from the devices. The amount of gold used for the compounds is very low and it is hard to recycle the devices and recover the gold from them. That means there is ever less gold available for easy use in the world.
5. Gold is used for medical purposes
Besides being found in many devices which are used in healthcare, gold has been used for medical treatments.
One of the most obvious and well-known uses of gold is in dentistry. Gold is used because it is chemically inert, nonallergic, easy to mold and work with.
Another reason why it is so popular, it’s its prestige and its aesthetic appeal. Gold alloys are used for fillings, crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances.
Gold is also used to treat some medical conditions such as cancer, arthritis and other specific uses.
6. Gold is used in aerospace
If you are sending something into space you want to make sure to make it out of the most quality materials.
Gold is used in space shuttles, the metal is used in circuitry as a connector and conductor. Gold-layered polyester film is applied in spacecraft helping with temperature stabilization and infrared radiation reflection.
7. Gold is used for glassmaking
Gold has many uses in the production of glass, one of them being because of aesthetics and because of usefulness.
A small quantity of gold is used in glass as it is annealed to get its beautiful ruby color and it is used for making glass for climate-controlled buildings. It is also added to the visor on astronauts’ helmets, as it protects them from infrared radiation.
8. How we will use gold in the future
Emerging new uses for gold are nanotechnology, pollution reduction in air and water, fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries, and in solar cells.
Gold is too expensive to be used lightly and it is used only when there is no possibility of finding another less expensive substitute.
Except for jewelry making, the way we use gold today was mostly developed in the last 20-30 years.
The need for gold and its qualities for making new technologies will most likely continue. This combined with very few substitutes for gold and its limited supply will make gold even more desirable and there is a big probability that the price of gold will rise in the future.
What do you think, is gold a precious metal of the future?