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Did You Know This About gold?

The history of gold as a store of value long predates its use as money. This most strikingly beautiful and lustrous of metals—perhaps first found as nuggets in streambeds—does not tarnish, is easily worked into beautiful and functional shapes, can be readily alloyed with other metals, and can be stretched thin as wire or pounded into thin leaf.

The world over, gold has long been revered as precious and associated with divinity and great wealth. The Incas called gold nuggets “the tears of the gods.” In culture after culture, however widely separated by distance or time, gold has been used for jewelry, for decorative purposes, and as a precious medium of exchange.

But gold has proven extremely useful in a wide array of industrial applications too. Gold conducts electricity and is used in the making of memory chips and electronic circuitry which functions at low voltages. Such applications require a metal that conducts but never tarnishes, since a layer of tarnish could halt the flow of electrons across a circuit. Gold is an efficient and reliable conductor—the best there is. For that reason, it’s used extensively in building spacecraft, where systems failure would be disastrous and maintenance is difficult or impossible.

Here on earth, gold is in your smartphone and in your computer. In order for manufacturers to keep costs down, gold is often alloyed with nickel or cobalt and electroplated to other conductive metals. There’s less than a dollar’s worth of gold in that Android or iPhone, and it’s used only where nothing less will do.

Gold is also used in tiny quantities in medicine. It is electroplated onto surgical instruments because it’s nonreactive and adds durability. Radioactive gold in a colloidal solution can be used as a beta emitter to help diagnose certain conditions as its flow is traced through the body.

Particles of a radioactive gold isotope are also implanted in the body and used to target some cancers. And for more than three-quarters of a century, weak solutions containing gold have even used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Gold treatments not only reduce pain and swelling (gold is an anti-inflammatory) but can also prevent further joint damage. Today, however, there are effective treatments that are better tolerated by the human body than gold.

To see the gold products available for purchase through the Hard Assets Alliance, including purity ratings and how your gold price per ounce changes by volume, click here.

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