Undoubtedly, it is the most precious and sought-after metalin history. From time immemorial people valued the intrinsic qualities and thebeauty of this shiny glittering substance. It was used as currency in manycountries and the "gold standard" has been an important feature of the worldeconomy.

There have been various "gold rushes". Whether it wasin the pre-colonial times where various nations set out to make fortunes by"digging" into the gold of natives in South America, or during the Wild Westwhere cowboys tried their luck, it has been the cause of frantic frenzies.

Yet gold has various other uses, functions andbenefits. One of the most immediate uses would be in dentistry. For example, Ihave a golden crown and it is both solid and permanent; it is not affected bymoisture and resists oxidation making it one of the most resistant materials.

Gold has had other medical uses as well. Sincemedieval times it was thought to be invested with healing powers and inmodern-day medicine compounds of gold have been used for the treatment ofvarious cancers and of arthritic pain. Surgeons tend to use gold instrumentsbecause it is safe and does not corrode while blood vessels and nerves can bepatched with golden compounds.

But let us not stop there yet. Yes, gold has been usedas jewelry and it is probably the best for wedding rings since it would be alasting shiny symbol of one's love and devotion. It has been also used as signsof prestige and some of the most important awards are made of gold, such as theOscars or The Grammy or the Olympic gold medal.

What may come as a surprise though is the fact thatgold is used in electronic equipment. Albeit in minimal quantities your cellphone contains gold! So does your television set, your calculator, yourcomputer! It is because gold is an efficient conductor of heat and electricity.Even NASA has taken advantage of this fact and their space vehicles containgolden materials.

In all of these cases, gold is easy to work with, asit is soft and malleable and can be easily shaped in various forms. It isuseful because of its strong and persistent qualities since it is unaffected bymoisture, oxygen and does not corrode. Last but not least, it is beautiful tolook at. No wonder that alchemists tried to find the philosopher's stone to convert base metals into gold since it hassuch unique and fascinating properties.