Gold, a rare metal prized for its rich yellow color and luster most often associated with jewelry and bullion, has many properties which also renders it useful in industry.  As the most malleable pure metal, gold can be beaten so thin it is used to create a highly reflective coating for visors of heat resistant suits.  As the most ductile and least corrosive pure metal, it is used in the manufacture of electronic components like semi conductors where its ability to conduct electricity while not reacting with water, oxygen or corrosive agents is critical.

Another critical use for gold is in medicine where gold’s ability to resist bacterial colonization makes it the perfect material for medical implants such as those used in the inner ear.  But, despite its many uses, 79% of gold today is still used in the manufacture of jewelry.  To create most gold jewelry, pure gold is alloyed with elements like silver and copper producing a harder and more durable karat gold like 14K.

The symbol for the element “gold” is Au which comes from the Latin word “Arum” meaning shining or glowing dawn.  This shiny metal can be found in the form of nuggets, veins or as loose material in sedimentary or alluvial deposits.   Gold is primarily extracted from the earth through mining ventures.  Today, most gold production takes place in South Africa, the United States and Australia.

Fun Gold Fact: In its pure state, gold is tasteless; therefore pure gold has sometimes been added to food – most notably in the 2007 creation of the World’s Most Expensive Dessert – A chocolate Sundae created by a NYC eatery.

References: – World Gold Council – ResponsibleGold.Org – Gold Field Mineral Services blog