Published: 14 Jul 2017
Gold in everyday life
We all know of gold as a great investment option. But did you know that this much-cherished metal is also used in abundance in all these everyday items?
- Ornate Saris & Fabrics
What: The tradition of using gold ‘zari’- which sees silver threads being plated with gold- in saris dates to the Mughal era, when it became a preference among royalty and the nobility. Since then, the practice found its way into various weaving traditions, including Kanjeevaram and Banarasi saris, which are sought after even today.
Why: Apart from its stature as a global currency, its eternal sparkle and luminous glow are some of the other reasons that added to its appeal.
- Smartphones and other technology products
What: From smartphones to TV screens to satellites, technology and electronic products feature gold in their chips and circuit boards.
Why: Gold functions as an excellent conductor of electricity while being highly resistant to corrosion. This allows it to transmit signals accurately even in the case of low voltage currents.
Gold Line: It would take gold from approximately 40 smart phone to yield 1 gram of gold.
- Beauty & Wellness Products
What: Gold is a highly sought-after ingredient in everything from Ayurvedic remedies to beauty treatments such as gold facials and creams.
Why: Gold can activate the basal cells of the skin, which increases its elasticity to reduce wrinkles, lines, and blemishes. Gold can also reduce dryness of the skin by increasing the metabolic rate. This can prevent premature ageing. Gold can also help fight skin tanning in summer, as it reduces the production of melanin or black pigment.
What: Around the world, gold is regularly used by dentists for fillings and crowns.
Why: Gold is non-allergenic, non-reactive, and extremely durable, as compared to other external elements. Another factor is the gold’s biocompatibility - it rarely has any negative effects when placed in contact with the human body and resists infection.
- Modern Medicine
What: Gold nano-particles have multiple uses in modern medicine. They play an important role in Rapid Diagnostic Tests for diseases such as malaria and even home pregnancy tests. Research is under way to use them in advanced diagnostic technologies for AIDS and Cancer. Additionally, new research suggests that gold can also be used to create powerful anti-bacterial agents that could combat infections.
Why: The biocompatibility of gold has meant that it has been used in medicine for centuries. Additionally, gold nano particles can be used to deliver medicines directly within the human body to exactly where they are needed, allowing for “needle-less” vaccine delivery.
- Delectable Edibles
What: A practice prevalent across cultures since ancient times, a gold sheet or ‘leaf’ is often used to wrap exotic food dishes, including sweets and health foods.
Why: It denotes gastronomical indulgence and luxury dining that is special, unique, and memorable. A restaurant in South India for example became famous for its gold-plated Dosas.
- Gold-Plated Collectibles
What: Gold-plated objects such as medals, trophies, serving bowls and serving trays are much cherished and proudly displayed.
Why: While the fineness of the gold used for the plating can vary from 24k to 18k or even lesser, the layer of authentic gold is what lends them a special status. Also, these are often received as recognition of a talent or gifted to mark a special memory.
Gold Line: Each Olympic medal has about 6 grams of 24k gold.
- Aircraft Technology
What: Gold can help protect gas turbine engines in aircrafts that are subject to erosive materials that can harm their components.
Why: BlackGold, an erosion-resistant nano-coating material developed by MDS Coatings Technology Corp, is highly resilient to such corrosion.
Gold Line: A thin layer of gold on an aeroplane’s windscreen can help reflect infra-red radiation.
The role of gold is not limited to these areas. Together, its chemical properties and cultural significance see the metal playing an impactful part in modern lives. A rare and beautiful paradox, it is as synonymous with history and tradition as it is with science and innovation. Perhaps, it is this quintessential quality of gold – practical with aesthetic brilliance - that makes it a much-in-demand metal.