Gold, silver and platinum are highly valuable because they are both rare and attractive. These hard-wearing metals are also ideal for making delicate jewellery.

Precious metals have other important practical uses too. Gold is an excellent reflector of light and heat. It is used to coat spacecraft and satellites to protect them from the sun, and to focus light from industrial and medical lasers. Silver is the best conductor of electricity and is used in batteries, fuses and electrical components. Silver is also sensitive to light and used to make photographic film. Platinum withstands extreme temperatures and helps to speed up chemical reactions. Among other things, it is used to make jet engine fuel nozzles and catalytic convertors in cars.

A silversmith making decorative jewellery.

Did you know..?

• The chemical symbol for gold is Au. This was taken from the Latin word ‘aurum’ which means ‘shining dawn’.

• Stone Age man was the first to fashion gold into jewellery and decorative ornaments.

• Gold and silver are still used as valuable currency. Nowadays coins are made of cheaper alloys, but gold and silver bars (or ‘ingots’) are still used by banks in special cases.

Gold bars are often stored in vaults. Gold thread can also be used to decorate clothes.

Picture Credit : Google


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