Most of us are pretty familiar with gold as jewelry, or as a solid long-term investment option. But have you wondered about the other uses of gold throughout the history of mankind? Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
USES OF GOLD – CONSTRUCTION & ARCHITECTURE
Perhaps the first thing that would come to mind is the usage of gold within the architecture of buildings and landmarks. From the tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharoahs; to places of worship; and even in modern architecture, a golden building (or even portions of it for that matter) is indeed a sight to behold.
‘But surely, most of those buildings are just painted gold!’, some of you might say. For that, we direct your attention to the Sri Harmandir Sahib, a.k.a. the Golden Temple located in Punjab, India. Not only is most of the temple structure coated in gold, but even the entire top of the temple is actually made out of pure gold!
For a more contemporary example, there’s the Royal Bank of Canada building in Toronto, Canada. All of its 27,000 glass windows are coated with thin films of solid gold (77.7 kilograms / 2,500 oz worth to be exact), and they’re not just for show – the windows allow heat to be reflected during summer, and bounces internal heat back into the rooms during winter, effectively cutting heating and cooling costs by 40%!
USES OF GOLD – FOOD & MEDICINE
In case you weren’t made aware about it, yes, gold is edible and safe for consumption.
For centuries, the Chinese have incorporated gold as a form of medicine to cure diseases like smallpox and measles. In more recent times, the precious metal is also used to treat arthritis, whereby gold salts are either injected or ingested to help reduce swelling and bone damage, as well as relieve joint pain and stiffness. An even more recent discovery for the uses of gold in medicine includes using the precious metal on a microscopic level to fight off cancer cells.
Of course, the precious metal is no stranger to the dental industry – just look up any rap video from the last 20-30 years to see the ‘bling in them grillz’. You’d be happy to know that gold is also resistant to bacteria and deterioration, which is why it continues to be used for gold fillings and caps for teeth.
While we’re on about putting gold in your mouth, the precious metal has also made its way into high-end delicacies and food offerings. Often employed in the form of flakes, sprinkles or edible leafs, gold can be seen utilised as a luxurious garnishing on ice-cream, chocolates, lollipops, and even on main course entrees (google Gualtiero Marchesi’s Saffron Risotto to see what we mean).
For smokers, you can even enjoy a 24k gold leaf cigar, if that’s your thing. However, if we’re being honest, that’s like packing tobacco on a RM100 bill, rolling it and lighting it up.
(Nubex Sdn Bhd does NOT condone smoking in any form. The purpose of the point was to highlight the different uses of gold. Smoking can harm your health – writer)
USES OF GOLD – SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
So we’ve touched a bit about the scientific benefits of gold above, but there’s also the uses of gold in technology. Gold is the third most conductive metal for electricity (silver being the first, followed by copper). As such, you can find gold plating on electrical adapters, AV cable plugs, circuit boards and microchips. The visor on an astronaut’s helmet is also often coated with gold, as it protects the astronaut’s eyes from dangerous sun rays when in space.
In industrial settings, gold is used for everything from coatings to lubricants, and as an industrial-grade cleaning mechanism for chemical reactions in the fields of pollution control, as well as in energy and food production.
USES OF GOLD – BEAUTY & FASHION
This goes without saying – if something looks good, you’ll want to wear it.
As one of the most pliable forms of metal on the planet, gold can even be made into sewing thread. This is particularly evident when we look at clothing worn by royalty throughout history.
You can even find gold being used in contemporary fashion, utilised by high-end designers like Michael Kors and Versace.
If it’s not enough for you to just wear them, you can even find gold being incorporated into beauty and skin care products from various manufacturers.
We’ve barely scratched the surface on the many interesting and unlikely uses of gold beyond jewelry and investment. The mind boggles at the many other possibilities gold might be utilised in the future.