15 Uses of Gold

Uses of gold

Gold is one of the most sought-after and widely used commodities on the planet. The fact that it does not tarnish and is so easily shaped makes it perfect for use in all kinds of applications. It also has many other beneficial properties such as its attractive natural sparkle, and the fact that it’s a great natural conductor of electricity. Here are 15 different uses for gold in the modern world.

1) Jewellery

When most people picture gold, they envision a sparkling necklace or diamond embedded engagement ring. In fact, most of the world’s gold consumption is used in the production of jewellery. Figures estimate that around 52% of the world’s total production of gold is used exclusively by the jewellery industry with countries such as India and China continuing to fuel this massive demand.

Gold has been used to create jewellery for thousands of years. One of the main reasons for its everlasting popularity is the fact that it does not react with moisture and so therefore does not rust.

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2) Money/finance

After jewellery, the most common use for gold is in coinage. Due to its rarity gold has long been used as a form of currency and people were using gold coins as far back as 6000 years ago. At one stage many of the world’s currencies were fixed to a gold standard which was set at the price per ounce. Whilst we don’t use gold to make money anymore, it is still used in to make bullion coins, and it is estimated that around 10% of the world’s gold is used in coinage or in the financial stores of government.

3) Investment

Gold has been a popular commodity for centuries and is viewed by investors as a safe haven and excellent store of wealth. Due to fact that it is a tangible commodity with a long history of market performance, gold is often purchased by investors seeking to protect themselves against the risks of inflation and downturns in the economy. The most common form of gold investment is usually gold bullion bars or coins. You can also purchase gold exchange funds on the stock exchange.

Uses of gold
100g Gold Bars

4) Collateral for a loan

In some countries, like India for example, gold is considered very precious and can be used as a collateral against loans.  As we move towards a more digitised financial system, tangible assets such as gold or silver are likely to become more important and using gold as collateral could become more commonplace.

5) Dentistry

Gold has played an important role in the dental industry for nearly 3000 years,

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and is often used in crowns, fillings and bridgework. Gold is non-toxic and can be placed in contact with the body without causing harm. The fact that it is also such a durable metal and doesn’t corrode in the mouth makes it perfect for use in dental treatment.

6) Medicine

Gold has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions since around 2500 BC. Chinese physicians originally used pure gold to treat conditions such as smallpox and skin ulcers. The ancient Romans also used gold salves to treat a variety of skin problems. Today gold is still used in medicinal treatments, particularly the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, where injections of gold solution are sometimes administered in particularly severe cases. Since gold is very resistant to bacteria and non-toxic, it is also frequently used in bodily implants where there may be a risk of infection, such as inner ear implants.

7) Mobile phones

Not many people know this, but gold can be found in the electronics of every single mobile device in the world. Research carried out by the World Gold Council, discovered that a single phone can contain up to 50 milligrams of gold. This may not seem like a lot but when you consider the number of mobile phone’s there are in the world, it all adds up to a pretty impressive amount of gold.

8) Computers/laptops

Gold is also frequently used in other electronic devices such as laptops and computers. It is one of the best natural conductors of electricity which is why it is often found in computer chips, allowing your computer to pass on, and receive information more easily. Whilst not as conductive a metal as silver, gold is more frequently used in electronics due to the fact it doesn’t ever tarnish or rust.

9) In space

Gold plays a key role in protecting astronauts from harmful infrared rays from the sun. The visor on their helmet is coated with a thin layer of gold which acts as a filter. Gold is also used on space vehicles to help reflect infrared radiation and stabilize core temperatures.

10) Food/drink

Some particularly up-market restaurants use gold shavings or gold leaf to decorate their more extravagant dishes. Gold is non-toxic and can be eaten without consequence, however it can’t be digested and passes straight through the body. Gold also has no taste so the use of gold in food is purely for decorative purposes.

Uses of gold
Japanese gold leaf producers Haku Ichi, serve ice cream decorated in gold.

11) Manufacturing

Gold is frequently used in manufacturing due to its ability to conduct heat and reflect light. It can also be used as lubricant in any number of engineering applications due to its resistance to cold welding.

12) Buildings

Some particularly grand buildings often feature some form of gold decoration. Gold leaf in particular, is frequently used to adorn important features on buildings all over the world. Some of the most famous examples include St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kiev, whose golden domes can be seen from miles around, and the Criterion Restaurant in London with its extravagant gold leaf ceiling.

13) Cosmetics/beauty

Gold is frequently used in the cosmetics industry and has been hailed as a revolutionary ingredient in everything from topical skincare creams to lip balms and moisturisers. Its many properties are said to help improve skin tone and elasticity as well as providing significant anti-aging benefits and improving blood circulation. Gold Nano-particles have been used in the products of some pretty influential names in the beauty industry including L’Oréal and Dior.

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14) Printing

Gold ink is becoming increasingly popular with printing companies since photos printed in gold can produce high quality and longer lasting images. CD’s and DVD’s that have been coated in printed gold can also resist scratches and last longer.

15) Displaying wealth

For some people gold is a sign of power and status. Wealthy individuals have always been keen to show off their wealth in the form of gold, whether it’s by wearing a luxury wristwatch or piece of fancy jewellery. Today gold is used to decorate iPhones, cars and was even used to create an exclusive credit card created by a bank in Kazakhstan. The card was made using gold, diamonds and mother of pearl.

Future uses of gold

More and more uses for gold are being discovered all the time. Our growing dependence on electronics and computers also means that gold usage is likely to grow sooner rather than later. Physical Gold is one of the leading providers of gold and silver in the UK. Our professional team of experts help guide investors who are interested in tax-efficient solutions, to help diversify their investment portfolio. For more information, please give us a call on 020 7060 9992.

Image sources: Pixabay and Flickr


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