One property of gold that distinguishes is from all other metals is its universal status as a monetary standard. Gold has been used as a medium of exchange since 3000 B.C. In the late 1700's it became the world monetary standard.
Most of the world production is absorbed by governments. Some metal is used in coinage, but the chief use is for backing currency and to settle international trade balances. Probably over one-half of the total world production is in government vaults or central banks.
The major non-monetary uses are both decorative and functional. The decorative uses include jewelry, religious items, etc. Functional applications occur in electronic and space industry. It is usual to make electrodepositions of gold on electronic components, including heat shields, diodes, printed circuits, tube pins and plugs. Thin gold films are excellent infrared reflectors with corrosion resistance and low contact noise.
Other functional applications include dental alloys, electrical contacts, chemical equipment, photography, etc