- Gold ingots have often been used to back currencies.Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
Like many other precious metals, gold is lustrous, but it is known for its distinctive yellow color. It is perhaps the most well known and sought-after metal in jewelry, but its applications stretch beyond jewelry. Gold is particularly soft and malleable, and so is almost always combined with other metals into alloys. Another remarkable quality of gold is its heat and electrical conductivity, which gives it applications in electronics and engineering.
- Beryllium is a shiny, steel-gray metal, and never found pure in nature. When exposed to air, it forms an oxidized layer that prevents further corrosion of the metal. Unlike many other precious metals it does not have applications in jewelry, but is used mostly in engineering because of its light weight, strength, resistance to corrosion and high melting point.