The World Gold Council has put together this neat interactive infographic. Gold's unique physical properties mean that it is becoming an essential component of almost every aspect of modern life. Some people judge others tastes by condemning gold as frivolous all the while using gold in many of the mundane and technology based items illustrated in this great material.
But why judge gold for the value people place upon it? If this is problematic it is not a problem of the the modern world. For thousands of years it has been used as money but we forget that it was selected as money because it was first valued for its beauty and potential spiritual value. Go no further than Buddhism in which gold symbolizes the sun, or fire. The most valuable of metals, it is accorded a sacred status through its association with Surya, the sun god of the Hindu pantheon. The alloying of gold with other alloying elements is therefore thought of as an act of sacrilege, since it dilutes the natural brilliance of the golden radiance in this religion. Tibetans have a love for gold that stretches back to ancient times. This love is reflected in their workmanship in gold, which was praised as long ago as the T'ang period in Chinese chronicles and which, therefore, may have been as intrinsic to them as it was to the Scythians in Central Asia.
But we will go further on the subject of gold! For the Inca people (before the arrival of the Spanish) gold was a sacred substance, used only for things that would please the deeply aesthetic Incan eye for beauty and, through that, reflect the glory of the Heart of Fire - the Sun God - who entrusted them with the safekeeping of this radiant stuff. The official imperial religion was the cult of the Sun God. Under law, all gold was kept in the stewardship of the divine emperor who used it only in ceremonial items, decorations for the temples and tombs, and to reward loyalty.