Whether you are at your desk, watching TV or lying in bed, chances are you’re within metres of a little bit of gold.
47% of our global gold production is made into jewellery, but gold isn’t limited to a fashion accessory, it’s everywhere! But before you dig out the metal detector, the amount of gold we’re talking about is very small and not obvious to see. Commonly, it is found within the inner workings of electronic items, as part of a circuit board or memory chip.
Chances are, these six everyday items contain gold:
- Computer – desktop and laptops
- Alarm clock
- Mobile phone
- Washing machine
- Car airbag
Our homes and workplaces are filled with gadgets and devices that help improve our lives, and gold has a part to play. Take the mobile phone for example, on average they contain 0.034 grams of gold. Considering approximately one billion mobile phones are produced every year, that’s a lot of precious metal! With the speed of phone upgrades these days, that’s a lot of gold being recycled or thrown in the bin.
What makes gold so special?
Gold is chemically a very stable metal. It does not oxidise when in contact with the air, meaning it’s great at withstanding corrosion. This is great for the consumer as it ensures the integrity of the electrical contacts that it is protecting, bringing longevity to the product.
An excellent conductor
Gold is an excellent conductor. This means that it can transmit information quickly and accurately within devices. Only silver and copper are better conductors.
Gold is incredibly malleable. This is ideal because it is used to cover other metals (within a circuit board for example). Gold can be produced in small quantities as a thin sheet, meaning it won’t jeopardise the size or workings of the product.
We may not all have big golden gates and a gold-plated house, but we are all owners of our own bit of bling. Gold may look good on your wedding finger, but our relationship with gold goes far beyond the confines of jewellery and fashion. It’s integrated into our daily lives whether we can see it or not.