Our Obsession with Gold
Humanity’s obsession with gold is well-documented – from the fabled city of Eldorado to piracy on the open seas where gold was plundered and pillaged.
But gold isn’t just ‘precious’ because it’s rare. It’s also an extremely useful metal – one that’s both pliable and highly conductive. As a result, gold has a number of different uses including technology, healthcare, financial markets, among others.
Let’s consider some of the most important ways in which gold is used.
As you know, gold is found in electronics. Many everyday devices, such as HDMI cables and the core of computer processors, contain gold because it easily conducts electrons. As a result, found inside all manner of household items; including television sets, mobile phones, cameras, and is commonly used in circuit boards – electroplated onto all kinds of connectors and capacitors.
It’s also commonly found in all components of desktop and laptop computers as it enables the fast transferral of data too. It’s high performance, long-lasting, and easy to use.
Gold’s conductive properties are also prized in aerospace – particularly in space travel. It’s often used as a vehicle coating on top of polyester film, as gold can reflect infrared radiation and reduce the amount of heat that machinery absorbs in space.
Gold is also used as a lubricant between mechanical parts in space equipment – again, as it can withstand radiation and heat better than other organic elements. In zero gravity, gold molecules slide past one another to create the lubricant effect.
More than Gold Teeth
Gold teeth may not be as common as they used to be, but given that gold is malleable, high performance and doesn’t react to other elements (unlike iron) it’s still highly-prized in dentistry – and has been for over 2,500 years.
But gold’s use in medicine doesn’t stop there. It’s also a key component in many medical devices and instruments – and is even used in some medicines to treat everything from arthritis to certain cancers.
The Eternal Bling Factor
No discussion of gold’s uses could be complete without mentioning jewelry. But why is it so highly regarded and used in everything from rings to necklaces?
Gold is bright, radiant and attractive to look at — it captures the human imagination. And, due to its rarity, it’s historically been associated with wealth. From a more practical standpoint, the fact that it is non-abrasive, non-reactive and easy to shape, means it is highly desirable to be worn on the body.
Gold is also very easily shaped to hold different gemstones and can be fused with other metals to create durable (and attractive) alloys.
Gold may come in many different forms – gold coins, bars, and nuggets – but given its popularity and enduring value, it will always be a desirable commodity. Unlike other financial investments, it’s a real, tangible material – something that can be physically bought, sold, or held onto for generations.
As a result, an investment in gold – in whatever form it takes – will always be worthwhile.