Gold has been in use for thousands of years, but what are the most unusual uses for gold?
It’s Christmas and everyone is thinking of the ultimate present, or perhaps they want to look after themselves and improve their health. Here we take a look at the many uses for gold, some are essential in keeping us alive whilst others are a luxury and others still seem frivolous to most of us.
Medical uses for gold
Gold can be converted into compounds, such as gold sodium thiomalate or aurothioglucose are injected in weak solutions to reduce pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Particles of a radioactive gold isotope are implanted in tissues to serve as a radiation source in the treatment of certain cancers.
Radioactive gold is used in diagnosis. It is injected in a colloidal solution that can be tracked as a beta emitter as it passes through the body. Many surgical instruments, electronic equipment, and life-support devices are made using small amounts of gold. Gold is nonreactive in the instruments and is highly reliable in the electronic equipment and life-support devices.
Gold is used in dentistry because it is chemically inert, non-allergenic, and easy for the dentist to work. It has been used like this since at least 700BC.
Some alcoholic drinks can be expensive on their own, without additives. But for those looking for a more expensive buzz something needs to be added. Gold is now being incorporated into drinks, such as the popular cinnamon schnapps booze Goldschlager. Each bottle has, in fact, minuscule fragments of gold foil that can be consumed.
Luxury dining experiences much more commonly involve gold leaf in recent times, which may not have been the case a couple of decades ago. Nowadays, gold leaf has become a desirable extra in wealthier establishments, as almost any dish has the ability to sparkle with some added gold.
Gold leaf is particularly popular in desserts and there are even websites dedicated to gourmet food that is decorated with gold leaf! How about a cupcake? not “any cupcake,” but the most expensive one made out of edible gold. The $28,000 confection, called the Golden Phoenix, was made by Bloomsbury, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Shiny Gold BBQ
High-end Aussie (who else?) grill maker Beef Eater made a backyard grill that has everything a normal device would have, except it is covered in 24-carat gold. The company made only one of the golden grills, for the Sydney Home Show in 2007. “It’s for the man who has everything and wants more,” wrote Peter Woodland, managing director of BeefEater, in a blog post headlined, Pimp My Grill. The cost? $15,000.00
In 2012, A bank in Kazakhstan introduced an exclusive credit card made of gold, diamonds, and mother of pearl. The Visa Infinite Exclusive card, now being marketed by Sberbank-Kazakhstan, will grant the user perks, such as lounge access at airports and discounts on hotels and meals. The bank even throws in an iPhone and a Montblanc card case. You may think twice about handing this credit card to your waiter, the bank charge $100,000 for the card.
Uses for gold in Beauty
Gold has been used in all kinds of cosmetic and beauty treatments for hundreds of years. In fact, the process dates back to at least ancient Egypt and China. Where people would rub thin flakes of gold into their skin, obviously by ‘people’ we mean the high and mighty. They believed it helped to eradicate wrinkles and keep skin looking young. Something that many people today still also think considering the number of spas that offer similar treatments.
Chinese beauty product manufacturer Umo offers skin rejuvenation based on a 24 K gold massage, as well as creams and other products containing gold.
Are you so rich that you want to see gold go up in smoke? Then you want the gold cigar. A real hand-rolled Dominican cigar wrapped in thin 24-karat gold leaf a few tenths of a micron thick. The cigar is produced by Daniel Marshalls with gold leaf by Giusto Manetti Battiloro, an Italian company in Florence.
Certain properties of gold make it an ideal conductor of electricity. This has made the material an essential part of the wiring. Circuits and almost any computer chip that has ever been made since the 1930s contain gold. The rapid and accurate transmission of digital information through the computer requires an efficient and reliable conductor. Gold meets these requirements better than any other metal.
It’s even possible to buy special cables with gold plated connectors that stores claim will improve signal strength and quality.
Although gold has not been used to inject actual tattoos, you can buy temporary decals made from 24-karat gold. The water-resistant decals use extremely thin gold leaves. And are applied directly to the skin for a temporary tattoo lasting 2/3 days at the most. This is about as good as it gets. Gold ink could be injected into the skin using traditional tattoo methods, but the result would no longer look like gold.
ATMs dispensing Gold
Not so much a use as it is unusual. Abu Dhabi has seen the introduction of several Gold To Go ATMs over the past few years. These are gold ATMs that are mostly found in high-end malls. Rather than allowing customers to withdraw cash, they actually payout in gold bars. The machines also offer a variety of engraved coins and plates that can be purchased as souvenirs. The price for the gold bars and coins is calculated via a computer that is connected to the internet. It can look up the current market prices for the metal.
The Royal Bank Plaza Towers in Toronto, Canada have a very distinctive look. Thanks to the fact that every single one of the 14,000 windows has been coated in 24-carat gold. The thin layers use approximately 2,500 ounces of gold and are estimated to be worth $1 million. Oxford Properties completed the project in order to insulate the building, providing significant energy savings.
Clothing fit for and Emperor
Do you want to stand out as you go about your daily business? Designer clothes not doing it for you? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that a South Korean company has come to your rescue with 24-karat gold clothing. Just send them your design and they’ll produce the perfect made-to-measure clothing, just for you.
We hope you enjoyed our fun look at the weird and wonderful world of gold and the many unusual uses for gold. While you’re here take a look at our metal plating page