The world carefully monitors the price of gold because of its association with banking and monetary systems around the world. Aside from using gold as money, humans have fashioned it into decorations since at least 4000 B.C. But gold has many unique properties that make it useful for other applications. With spot gold prices currently over $1100, let's take a look at some uses of this precious metal. (For info on gold investing, check out Getting Into The Gold Market and 8 Reasons To Own Gold.)

  1. Pharmaceuticals
    Credited with curing or warding off everything from smallpox to measles, for centuries, the Chinese have used gold as a vaccine.

    Gold was a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis from the late 1920s until the 1990s. According to the JohnsHopkinsArthritisCenter, gold flakes were injected into muscles, into the veins and even given orally. Though gold could sometimes be an effective treatment, it is unclear exactly how it improves the patient's condition. New treatments with fewer side effects are now preferred.

    One of the most exciting uses of gold in medicine is precision delivery of medication to fight cancer. Microscopic gold covered "medicine bullets" are fired at targeted cells then activated to release their load.

  2. Implants
    Most people associate gold body parts with gold fillings or caps on teeth. It can also be used in medical implants from stents to pace makers because it is resistant to bacteria and deterioration.

  3. Health Supplement
    The Japanese originated the tradition of ingesting thin films of gold in beverages and food as a sort of "vitamin". In India and Egypt, it is taken as a powder or a tablet.

  4. Beauty Regime
    Chinese beauty product manufacturer Umo, offers massage cream, facials, and other products containing gold. Check out their website for the entire line:

  5. Conductor / Connector
    Gold's ability to conduct electricity and facilitate connectivity has been known for decades. Since the 1930s it has been used in telecommunications equipment from fuses to switches. Just about anything electronic contains gold circuits. The microchips in cell computers, cell phones, even that little locator chip embedded under your pet's skin contains gold. It is common to find 24 ct gold plated electrical adapters and plugs for audio and video cables.

  6. Imaging
    Photos printed in gold produce high quality lasting images. New technology uses gold ink in ink jet printing. High quality compact disks coated in gold resist scratches and last longer.

  7. Chemical Cleansers
    Used as a chemical catalyst, tiny gold particles are used in industrial settings to provide a cleaning mechanism for chemical reactions. It is important for pollution control, energy production and food production.

  8. Sun Block
    Astronauts wear gold coated visors in space, not as a fashion statement, but to protect their eyes from dangerous sun rays. Gold covers many parts of space crafts and modules to deflect harmful radiation.

    The windows of entire buildings, like the RoyalBankPlaza building in Toronto, are coated in gold to reflect light and decrease utility bills.

  9. Industrial
    The ability to conduct heat, add strength, and reflect light, makes gold a popular industrial element. Gold is used for everything from coatings to lubricants to moldings in manufacturing.

A recent search for gold plated auction items on turned up 38,302 items, mostly jewelry & crafts. Also found were: musical instruments and curling irons. In addition to plating, gold can be found as a glaze, thin leaf, and liquid. In its solid form coins, jewelry and sculpture are prominent. (For more on gold, read The Midas Touch For Gold Investors and Does It Still Pay To Invest In Gold?)

Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid?

    One program is for the poor; the other is for the elderly. Learn which is which.
  2. Taxes

    10 Money-Saving Year-End Tax Tips

    Getting organized well before the deadline will curb your frustration and your tax liability.
  3. Savings

    Your Flex Spending Dollars: How to Use Them All

    Your flexible spending account is about to expire. Don't throw money away; here's how you can spend every cent (or roll it over).
  4. Retirement

    Getting Through the Medicare Part D Maze

    Having trouble sorting through your prescription drug coverage options? Try these solutions to finding the right Medicare Part D option.
  5. Options & Futures

    Why Gold Is No Longer the Currency King

    Although a gold standard seems like a good idea, looking at its role in U.S. history reveals that it may not be the beacon of stability that it claims.
  6. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Help Clients with Dementia

    Advisors may be called on to monitor and react to changes in their clients' mental acuity. Here's what to consider.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Five ETFs for Contrarian Investors

    Here are five ETF ideas that can be used by the contrarian investor.
  8. Insurance

    Does an Insurance Plan Network Affect Your Health?

    So-called narrow networks have been criticized. But it's not necessarily true that they have a negative impact on the medical care you get.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Rite Aid's Newest Campaign

    Learn why Rite Aid is targeting human resources managers with its new campaign warning of the dangers of flu season and the effects the flu has on production.
  10. Retirement

    No, Social Security Is Not Being Depleted

    There are a number of reasons why concerns over Social Security depletion have emerged, but there are ways you can prepare for it.
  1. Are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions tax deductible?

    The contributions you make to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) are not tax-deductible because the accounts are funded ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cover Lasik?

    Flexible spending accounts (FSA) can be used to pay for qualifying LASIK procedures. LASIK is not the only laser eye surgery ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are Flexible Spending Account (FSA) expenses tax deductible?

    Flexible Spending Account (FSA) expenses are not tax deductible. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states you cannot ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Does a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cover acupuncture?

    A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) covers acupuncture. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has defined acupuncture as a qualifying ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) expire?

    Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) do expire and are considered to be a "use it or lose it" type of plan. They are savings ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do flexible spending accounts (FSA) funds roll over?

    An individual can utilize an employer’s cafeteria plan of employee benefits to establish a flexible spending account (FSA). ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  2. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  3. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  4. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  5. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
  6. Discount Bond

    A bond that is issued for less than its par (or face) value, or a bond currently trading for less than its par value in the ...
Trading Center