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How Gold and Silver is Used in the Modern World

How Gold and Silver is Used in the Modern World - Royal Bull

Think back a millenia or two and these precious metals were used exclusively for decoration, jewelry and bartering. Today, the uses of gold and silver are as endless as the depths of the deposits that contain them. 

Precious metals make the world go round! They’re essential components for many of us…whether it’s for decoration, investment or practical uses, gold and silver are important in everything from tech and industry to decorations and dessert toppings.

Let’s dive into some of the more common applications for each precious metal and how Canadians may encounter gold (Au) and silver (Ag) in your daily travels without even knowing it.

How Gold is Used

Gold is used to pay for goods and services – currency!

Although it’s not as common as it used to be, gold is used as a global currency to exchange for goods and services – things we need. Some countries aren’t as keen on using gold to pay their employees and at least one has banned paying employees wtih gold bullion. Fortunately, if you have gold and know of a store that accepts gold as payment, then you’re still welcome to pay using this historic and reliable currency.

Gold is the metal used in the world’s most beautiful jewelry

From the earliest known gold pendant from 4,300 B.C. to the stunning creations jewelers craft today, gold has been at the heart of the jewelry industry for most of mankind’s time here on Earth. Egyptian pharaohs went so far as to make complete head ornaments out of gold, while other rulers on the opposite side of Earth also chose elaborate bodily decorations, such as rings, bracelets and necklaces. Today, gold jewelry has lost none of its prestige and is a staple accessory for billions of people.

Gold makes for a great investment

Whether the investor chooses bars, coins, rounds or nuggets, gold has proven to be a wide investment at key moments throughout history, especially over the past 20 years. Gold is tangible so it can be easily and discretely stored at your home or office, and often can be purchased with unique designs making bars and coins enjoyable to collect.

Gold is found in many electronics 

The precious metal conducts electricity well and does not rust/corrode, making gold important for a wide variety of electronics, including your computer and phone. Your phone has approximately $2 worth of gold in it! And your computer is packed with it too – your motherboard, CPU, RAM chips and circuit boards. Of course the amount of gold is very minimal and reclaiming gold from disused PCs is likely not worth tearing it apart unless you have a large-scale operation.

From an electronics production standpoint, gold is very easy to work with, so although the metal is expensive, it is well worth the investment for electronics companies to use.

Gold is essential for medical reasons

When something goes wrong with your body, gold may be the precious metal that comes to your rescue. Besides playing an active role in the electronics that govern many hospital gadgets, it has many other hands-on values. Dentists have trusted gold to plate implants for centuries, and repair broken teeth. Gold can also be used in cancer therapies and even help to keep arthritis under control. In dark-field microscopy, gold nanodisks make it all possible.

How Silver is Used

Silver can be used as payment for a wide range of products and services

If your silver has a face value, you can legally walk into your corner store and pay for your chocolate bar with your coin. That being said, we don’t recommend it. That’s because there’s a very good chance that you can likely trade your silver to Royal Bull and get more money than what its face value is worth. If your silver has no face value – if it is a bar or a round – then buying goods and services might be a little more challenging. If you’re ever wondering what to do, sell it to Royal Bull.

Silver is used to make beautiful, timeless jewelry

Silver’s use in jewelry goes back centuries and has been beloved since humanity first founds deposits of it centuries ago. Today silver is used in every piece of jewelry imaginable, including necklaces, rings and earrings. 

The precious metal is frequently combined with copper to create a less pure (but some argue equally beautiful) material called sterling silver (containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper). This addition of copper allows the alloy to be stronger and more durable for forks, dishes and other practical applications.

Silver is a key component in electric devices

Simiarly to gold, the importance of silver in everyday electronics can’t be over emphasized. From electrical switch contacts to photovoltaic cells for the production of solar energy, silver makes it all happen. Its non-corrosive, maleable and conductive attributes make it the perfect material to coat many surfaces. 

Silver’s use in photography

Prior to the rise in popularity of digital camera technology, photography relied on silver and its sensitivity to light to develop photographs.

Sliver makes chemical reactions possible

Silver is a catalyst to create chemical reactions resulting in plastics like polyester and moldable materials like formaldehyde.

Silver as an investment

Since silver is moldable, only melts at high temperatures and does not corrode, making for a great item to save for the long term. It can be cast into bars and minted into bars, coins and rounds (medals). Since silver is more abundant than gold it does not cost as much per ounce, and is more accessible to investors with varied economic backgrounds.

Silver is used in many more common aspects of Canadian life

The uses of silver are endless here in Canada: windows, car engines, spaceships, medicine, water filters and even instruments. As technology advances, Canadian researchers and many other around the world are constantly finding new ways to use this beloved precious metal for the benefit of future generations.

Looking to invest in gold and silver? Royal Bull is Canada’s leader in buying and selling gold and silver bars and coins. Visit our online store today!