Gold is a precious metal that has a long history with humanity. 🔅
Historically, it’s been used as a currency, jewellery, dentistry, and a few other items we’re about to discover in this article. That’s because gold has some unique properties that make it well suited for an interesting variety of needs, activities and decorations. Curious as to what gold is used for? Let’s dig in!
What makes gold unique?
The main gold properties that make it so unique are the following:
- It’s very rare
- It doesn’t rust
- It’s malleable and easy to work with
- It’s highly conducive
- … it looks beautiful!
1. Safe haven financial asset
The most common gold usage is as a safe haven financial asset. Historically, gold was used as a currency. But since currencies have come off the gold standard, gold is now used as a store of value, rather than a currency. Banks and financial institutions store gold in their own reserves, and so do individuals like you and me. Currently, 29.19% of the global gold supply is stored for financial and investment purposes.
According to an analysis by the International Monetary Fund, the US is the country that holds the most gold. However, we also know that China and Russia also hold huge undisclosed amounts of the precious metal. Gold is an investment that holds value over time, beats inflation and is a good way to diversify outside the monetary system. We’ve written a few articles on why gold is a good investment. 👇
This is likely the way you first ever got into contact with gold: through someone’s jewellery. That’s because gold has been used as jewellery since the precious metal was first discovered. Centuries ago, gold was a symbol of royalty and beauty, which meant that kings and queens, lords and chiefs used it to symbolise their strength and power.
Gold is the perfect precious metal for jewellery. It does not react with moisture, and it does not rust; no matter how much you sweat, your gold won’t wither away. It’s also a very versatile metal, which makes it easy to create wires, designs and to combine it with other metals. Currently, 48.5% of the gold consumption goes to jewellery.
3. Dentistry and medicine
Gold is also used in crowns and fillings and has in fact been used in dentistry for almost 3,000 years! That’s because it is a non-toxic metal that doesn’t cause harm to the body and lasts a long time, which makes it perfect for teeth. When used in dentistry, it’s usually mixed with other metals and designed specifically to fit inside a mouth. 👄
Gold is also used to treat certain inflammatory conditions; it’s also very resistant to bacteria and does not react easily with other metals, so it’s still used for implants. Gold is a precious metal that could literally save your life.
The phone you’re holding could contain up to 50 milligrams of gold! There’s quite a lot of gold in phones and other electronic equipment because it’s a metal that is resistant to rust and is highly conducive. Since it is easily stretched and malleable, it can be sized to fit into everything and all types of board, which is why you’ll also find it in computers.
Think about all those mobile phones and computers that aren’t recycled – that’s a lot of gold that is forever lost! In fact, we do face an increasing shortage of gold due to non-recycled electronics.
You’ve likely seen Olympiads proudly biting their gold metals in front of the cameras after a big win; that’s real gold! Gold looks great and is still a high-status symbol in the 21st century. First place medals are usually made of gold, and you’ll also find the metal in statues and religious idols.
6. Outer space
Gold is also used for space exploration! That’s because gold works as a protection against infrared rays. Astronaut helmets are covered in a thin layer of gold to protect their faces and is also used in certain space vehicles to help stabilise temperatures and make environments more reliable. It may also be used as a lubricant and electronic systems in satellites
At Minted, we can help with the first use mentioned: gold as a safe haven asset. We believe every family and individual should hold some gold in their portfolio to protect them against an economic crisis, currency deflation or a downturn. It’s an investment that will keep your savings safe and help soften the blow from economic crises. With Minted, you can get started for as little as £30 per month, no commitment or contracts!