The common perception of this precious metal is of gold bars and coins, but it also has a wide range of useful applications.

What makes these precious metals so unique and costly?

We are aware of the abundance of gold and silver in banks, the images of pricey gold and silver jewelry, and the fact that coins are made of copper. But each of these metals is used and relied upon in a variety of ways by us every day.

  • Both gold and silver are excellent heat- and electricity conductors;
  • By alloying (combining) gold, copper, and silver with other metals, new materials can be created;
  • Gold, silver, and copper are ductile and easily formed metals that may be stretched into extremely thin wires;
  • Neither gold nor silver corrode, flake, or chip;
  • Gold, copper and silver can be recycled.


Atomic number: 79

Atomic weight: 196.967

Melting point: 1,064 degrees C

Specific gravity: 19.3 when pure

Hardness: 2.5–3

Gold is 19.3 times heavier than an equal volume of water. It’s rare, soft and unreactive.

What Is Gold?

Gold is a rare metal. The Roman goddess of dawn Aurora inspired the chemical symbol for it, Au. The "fineness" of gold, measured in parts per 1,000, or the carat scale, measured in parts per 24 both serve as indicators of its purity. Pure gold is 24 carats or 1,000 fines. Troy ounces are used to measure the cost of gold and other precious metals. The word "troy" comes from Troyes, France, a significant commerce hub throughout the Middle Ages. The weight of a troy ounce is 31.1 grams.

What Are the Properties of Gold?

Pure gold is fragile and prone to corrosion. That is why it is frequently combined with harder metals. An alloy is a combination of metals. Gold is remarkably non-reactive. This indicates that it is rust and tarnishing resistant. That explains how a gold nugget may survive thousands of years underground and yet appear shiny. Gold is ductile (easy to shape) and malleable (can be drawn into a very thin wire). An ounce of gold would be equal to a square lump approximately the size of your thumbnail. The light could penetrate through an ounce of gold that has been compressed into a sheet so thin that it would be thinner than a piece of tissue paper.

Where Is Gold Found?

In nature, gold can be found as a free metal. It is too small to be seen with the naked eye and is typically found as nuggets or wrapped up in rock. It can occasionally be discovered alongside other metals.

What Has Gold Been Used for in the Past?

For more than 5,000 years, gold has been used as money, ornaments, and other decorative items. Since ancient Egypt, exquisite books, picture frames, cathedrals, statues, tombs, and temples have all been decorated with gold leaf. King Tutankhamun's burial casket (1352 BC) was one of many Egyptian coffins that had been adorned with beaten gold. Due to its corrosion resistance, gold leaf can outlast paint for many years when used to decorate domes or ceilings of structures. Long before it was utilized as money, gold was converted into jewelry. Gold jewelry was first discovered during the Sumeric culture, which existed circa 3,000 BC. Both men and women wore the jewelry. Although some of the techniques have been lost, the Goldsmith's talents that were understood and perfected during that period are still in use today. Gold wedding rings date back to ancient Egypt and have been used in marriage ceremonies since the ninth century. Because it was thought that this finger carried an artery directly leading to the heart, the ring was traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand.

Gold Uses Today

Besides being a currency, gold has many uses, including:

  • Decoration: Due to its corrosion resistance, gold has been used for ornaments and decoration for over 5,000 years, outlasting paint;
  • Jewelry: Since 3,000 BC, gold has been used in jewelry;
  • Gold-reflective glass: Because gold is flexible and reflects heat, it may be used to coat glass with a thin coating that transmits light but not heat. The use of reflective glass has allowed some buildings to cut their cooling and heating expenses by as much as 40%;
  • Gold is utilized in circuits in calculators, television sets, computers, phones, and other electronics because it is a very good conductor of electricity and does not corrode or tarnish in hot or low temperatures;
  • Satellites and Communications: Electronic circuits and heat shields in satellites are made of gold;
  • Aerospace: Gold is used to protect astronauts, satellites, and vital electronic components from the harmful X-rays and solar radiation encountered in space since the metal reflects heat;
  • Medicine: Gold leaf is used in surgery to repair damaged blood arteries, nerves, bones, and membranes, and radioactive gold is used to treat certain types of cancer;
  • Dentistry: Due to gold's remarkable resistance to corrosion and tarnish, dentists worldwide utilize around 70 tons of the metal each year for crowns, bridges, gold inlays, and dentures.