Popular Uses for Gold – Common Practical & Industrial Uses for Gold

Gold FAQ - May 23, 2023

Gold is a highly valued precious metal that has been treasured for centuries. Most people associate gold with being very valuable. This is largely due to traditions and its historical influence as a store of value, but also because of the huge run in gold prices in the early 2000s.

Gold has both practical uses as a metal, as well as uses to society that aren’t directly based on its composition. Here are a few of the most popular uses of gold you’re probably familiar with:

1. Jewelry

Gold is most commonly used in the creation of fine jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and watches. Its luster, durability, and malleability make it an ideal choice for crafting intricate and beautiful pieces.

gold jewelry on display

2. Investment and store of value

Gold has long been considered a safe haven investment and a hedge against inflation. Many individuals and institutions buy gold in the form of coins, bars, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as a means of preserving wealth.

3. Currency

Historically, gold has been used as a form of currency. While it is not commonly used for day-to-day transactions anymore, central banks and governments still hold gold reserves as a means of backing their currencies. Many also produce gold coins. Read our blog about popular gold coins that are often used for collector and investment purposes.

4. Awards and honors

Gold is often used to create trophies, medals, and other awards to symbolize achievement and distinction. Think the Olympics (although those medals are not made of pure gold).

On top of the usual reasons individuals purpose gold, there are some more practical uses for gold as well. Practical uses for gold typically refer to applications where gold’s unique properties are utilized for functional purposes. Here are just a few practical uses for gold, highlighting its unique properties that make it valuable in a range of industries and applications:

1. Electronics and Technology

Gold is an excellent conductor of electricity and is highly resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for use in electronic components. It is used in connectors, switches, printed circuit boards (PCBs), and contacts in a wide range of electronic devices.

2. Reflectors and Coatings

Gold’s high reflectivity to infrared and visible light makes it valuable for applications such as mirrors, reflective coatings on spacecraft and satellites, and protective visors for astronauts and space exploration.

3. Thermal Insulation

Gold is used in various applications that require high thermal conductivity and resistance to oxidation. It is used in thin gold films on spacecraft to control temperature, in high-end audio equipment for improved signal transmission, and in certain industrial processes that involve high-temperature environments.

4. Dentistry and Medicine

Gold has been used in dentistry for its biocompatibility, resistance to corrosion, and ability to be easily shaped. It is used in dental crowns, bridges, and other dental restorations. In medicine, gold nanoparticles are used in diagnostics, targeted drug delivery, and imaging technologies.

5. Catalysis

Gold nanoparticles have unique catalytic properties, making them useful in various chemical reactions. They are used as catalysts in the production of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and in environmental applications.

6. Glassmaking

Gold is used in glass manufacturing to create specialty glass with a range of colors, such as red, purple, or blue. It is also used in the production of high-quality glass for architectural purposes and luxury items.

7. Aerospace Industry

Gold is used in spacecraft and satellites for various applications, including electrical connectors, thermal control, and as a protective coating against the harsh space environment.

8. Reliable Contacts

Gold’s resistance to corrosion and its ability to maintain consistent conductivity over time make it suitable for use in electrical contacts, such as those found in switches and connectors in sensitive electronic equipment.

So gold isn’t just to look pretty! Even though it holds a lot of significance as jewelry, coins, and investments, it has intrinsic value for practical purposes as well.

That said, most gold is used for consumer purposes. Most of the gold we buy is used, broken, and unwanted jewelry. If you’re interested in selling your gold, request a free kit now!