Gold Uses by Country – Gold Popularity Around the World

Gold Uses by Country – Gold Popularity Around the World

The cultural significance of gold is deeply rooted in human history and spans across various civilizations and cultures worldwide. From ancient times where it was used as decoration or even functionally, to current times where it’s used as an investment tool or gift giving, gold is used very heavily throughout the world.

gold around the world

Customs related to gold can vary significantly from one country to another due to differences in cultural, historical, economic, and legal factors. Below are some common customs related to gold in different parts of the world. However, please note that these customs might change over time, and it’s always best to check with locals for the most up-to-date customs. Chatting with locals is always a good idea anyway! They can give you an idea of cultural customs within their family, country, city, and neighborhood.



India has a rich cultural tradition of gold ownership and gifting. Gold is considered auspicious and is often purchased during festivals, weddings, and other significant occasions. In addition, India has a strong demand for gold jewelry and gold coins/bars as a form of investment. Recently taking the crown as the most populous nation on Earth, the demand for gold will continue to be strong. Here are some of the prominent uses for gold India:

  1. Weddings and Dowry: Gold is an integral part of Indian weddings, symbolizing prosperity and good fortune. It is customary for the bride to receive gold jewelry from her family as part of her dowry, which she brings to her new home after marriage. The amount of gold given as dowry varies depending on the families’ financial capabilities and regional customs.
  2. Festivals: During festivals like Diwali, Dhanteras, Akshaya Tritiya, and Pongal, there is a tradition of buying gold as it is considered auspicious. Many people invest in gold jewelry or gold coins/bars during these occasions.
  3. Religious Offerings: Gold is often offered at temples and other places of worship as a sign of devotion and respect to the deities. Gold ornaments are donated by devotees during religious ceremonies.
  4. Gifting: Gold is frequently given as a gift during significant life events such as births, birthdays, engagements, and anniversaries. It is seen as a precious and thoughtful gift that signifies love and blessings.
  5. Investment: Gold is considered a secure investment in India. People often buy gold as a form of long-term savings or to protect against economic uncertainties. Gold jewelry is also seen as a form of portable wealth that can be easily liquidated when needed.
  6. Custom-Made Jewelry: In India, it’s common for families to pass down gold jewelry through generations. Many families have custom-designed and handcrafted gold jewelry pieces that hold sentimental value and are considered family heirlooms.
  7. Jewelry in Rituals: Gold jewelry is an integral part of Indian rituals and ceremonies. For example, during traditional dances like Bharatanatyam or Kathak, dancers wear intricate gold jewelry as part of their costumes.
  8. Gold Loans: Gold is often used as collateral for loans in India. Many households pledge their gold ornaments with banks or pawnshops to secure funds for emergencies or other financial needs.
  9. Gold Exchanges and Markets: India has vibrant gold markets, with various cities having specialized gold markets or bazaars. One of the most famous is the Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai.
  10. Gold during Funerals: In some cultures, gold is used to honor the deceased. For example, gold coins may be placed on the eyes of the departed as a symbol of respect.

It’s important to note that the customs surrounding gold may differ among various regions and communities in India. Additionally, the practices may evolve over time, influenced by social and economic changes. Nonetheless, gold remains an integral part of Indian culture, and its significance in various customs continues to be cherished.

china cat gold


Similar to India, gold has cultural significance in China, representing wealth and prosperity. Chinese consumers also buy gold for investment purposes and during festivals and weddings. The government controls the gold market and regulates imports and exports to manage domestic demand. Here are some of the prominent gold customs in China:

  1. Chinese New Year and Festivals: During Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) and other traditional festivals like the Lantern Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, gold is a popular gift and purchase. People buy gold jewelry or gold coins as gifts to bring good luck and blessings for the new year.
  2. Weddings: Gold is an essential part of Chinese weddings, much like in India. The bride often receives gold jewelry from her family as part of her dowry, symbolizing the transfer of prosperity and blessings to the new family.
  3. Chinese Zodiac Significance: Some people believe in wearing gold jewelry that corresponds to their Chinese zodiac sign to attract positive energy and good fortune based on their astrological animal.
  4. Gifting for Celebratory Occasions: Gold jewelry is a common and highly regarded gift for celebratory occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. It is seen as a valuable and thoughtful present that expresses good wishes and appreciation.
  5. Investment: Similar to India, gold is considered a valuable investment in China. Many people buy gold bars or coins as a means of preserving wealth and hedging against economic uncertainties.
  6. Feng Shui: In traditional Chinese Feng Shui, gold is associated with the element of metal and is believed to attract positive energy and wealth when placed in specific areas of the home or workplace.
  7. Business and Prosperity: Gold objects and decorations are often used in business settings to symbolize wealth and prosperity. For instance, gold-plated objects may be displayed in shops or offices to attract good fortune and success.
  8. Golden Week Holidays: During China’s Golden Week holidays, which include National Day and other public holidays, there is an increase in gold sales as many people take advantage of the time off to shop and purchase gold items.
  9. Cultural and Historical Significance: China has a long history of using gold in various artifacts, such as ceremonial objects, sculptures, and ornaments. Gold’s historical significance has contributed to its continued importance in Chinese culture.
  10. Gold Markets: China has several gold markets and districts where gold jewelry, coins, and other gold items are sold. One of the most famous is the Caibai Jewelry Store in Beijing.

As with India, it’s essential to recognize that customs may differ among regions and communities within China, as the country is culturally diverse. Additionally, while gold remains a prominent symbol in Chinese culture, modern lifestyles and preferences may influence the ways in which gold is used and celebrated in contemporary society.

United States

In the United States, gold is primarily viewed as an investment, and there are several practices related to its use and ownership. Here are some key ways gold is used in the United States:

  1. Inflation Hedge: Gold is commonly regarded as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty. Many investors include gold in their portfolios to diversify their assets and protect against potential financial downturns. Many investors buy gold in the form of bars, coins, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  2. Investment: Some people in the US (and elsewhere) via gold as an investment not just to hedge against inflation, but because they see it as a strong long-term commodity. Sometimes referred to as “gold bugs” – a term used to refer to individuals who are extremely bullish on gold – these individuals use gold as an investment and often have a strong preference for holding gold over other assets.
  3. Coin Collectors: Numismatics, the study and collection of coins, is a popular hobby in the United States, and many collectors focus on gold coins with historical or rare value.
  4. Weddings & Marriage: Let’s not forget the gold bands used to signify eternal love traditionally gifted between partners during a marriage ceremony. Even while demand for authentic diamonds and more traditional jewelry has waned, the gold band stands the test of time as a marital tradition.
  5. Grills(z): Gold grillz/teeth are decorative dental accessories made from gold or other precious metals. They are designed to fit over a person’s teeth, typically covering the front teeth, and are often worn as a fashion statement or for aesthetic purposes. Gold grillz gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s within hip-hop and rap culture. They were often associated with rappers and musicians, becoming a symbol of wealth and success.
  6. Family Heirlooms: Antique jewelry is often seen as a family heirloom that is passed down from generation to generation. Because old pieces tend to be more ornate and unique, it’s common to pass them down as a valuable memory to your children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren.
  7. Jewelry & Gifts: Gold is occasionally given as a luxurious and special gift for significant life events, such as anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations.

Unlike many other countries, there are no restrictions on personal gold ownership. It can often be traded at local cash for gold stores, jewelers, pawn shops, gold exchanges, or it can be sold to companies like Cash for Gold Mailer. If you’re interested in selling gold in the US, request a mailer from us today!

Middle Eastern Countries

Gold is highly valued in Middle Eastern countries, and it plays a central role in weddings and other important ceremonies. Gold souks or markets are popular in many cities, offering a wide range of gold jewelry and ornaments.

  1. Gold Jewelry: Gold jewelry is highly valued in the Middle East and is an essential part of traditional attire, particularly for special occasions like weddings, festivals, and religious celebrations. Elaborate gold necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and anklets are popular choices among both men and women.
  2. Weddings and Dowry: Gold is a significant component of dowries in Middle Eastern weddings. It is customary for the bride to receive gold jewelry from her family, symbolizing prosperity and blessings for her new life.
  3. Religious and Cultural Significance: Gold holds religious importance in Islam, which is the predominant religion in the Middle East. It is often mentioned in the Quran as a symbol of beauty and wealth. Gold is also used in various religious ceremonies, and gold-plated domes and ornaments can be seen in mosques and religious structures.
  4. Gift-Giving: Gold is a valuable and cherished gift for various occasions, including religious events, birthdays, and holidays. Gifting gold is seen as a gesture of love, respect, and good fortune.
  5. Investment: Like many other cultures, the Middle East recognizes gold as a stable investment and a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainties. Many individuals and families invest in physical gold, such as gold coins and bars, as a means of preserving wealth.
  6. Gold Souks: The Middle East is famous for its bustling gold markets, known as “souks” or “bazaars.” These markets, like the Gold Souk in Dubai, offer a wide variety of gold jewelry and ornaments from various regions and designs.
  7. Decorative Arts and Craftsmanship: Gold is used in traditional art forms, such as gold embroidery on clothing and textiles, and in intricate metalwork, including gold filigree and engraving.
  8. National Reserves: Some Middle Eastern countries hold substantial gold reserves as part of their national wealth and economic strategies.

While gold is popular throughout countries in the Middle East, the UAE, particularly Dubai, is renowned for its gold markets and jewelry stores. The Dubai Gold Souk is a famous gold market that attracts tourists and locals alike, offering a wide range of gold jewelry and ornaments. Dubai is also known for its luxurious gold-plated architecture and landmarks.

European Countries

In Europe, several countries have a significant cultural affinity for gold, and they use gold extensively in various forms, including jewelry, investment, and central bank reserves. Some of the countries in Europe that are known for their high usage of gold include:

  1. Switzerland: Switzerland is a major player in the global gold market. It is known for its gold refining and trading industry, with several world-renowned refineries located in the country. Switzerland is also a popular destination for storing and trading physical gold due to its reputation as a stable and secure financial hub.
  2. Italy: Italy has a long history of goldsmithing and craftsmanship. Italian gold jewelry is highly regarded for its intricate designs and high-quality craftsmanship. Cities like Florence and Venice are famous for their gold jewelry production.
  3. Germany: Germany has a strong demand for gold, both in terms of jewelry and investment. Germans often see gold as a safe haven asset, and gold coins and bars are popular forms of investment.
  4. Russia: Russia is one of the world’s leading producers of gold, and the precious metal plays an essential role in the country’s economy. Russia’s central bank is also known to be actively adding gold to its reserves in recent years.
  5. Turkey: Turkey has a deep cultural tradition of gold ownership. Gold jewelry is a popular gift and is often given during weddings, engagements, and other special occasions. Turkey is also one of the largest consumers of gold for jewelry purposes.
  6. United Kingdom: The United Kingdom has a significant gold market, with London being one of the world’s major gold trading centers. The city’s London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is a global authority for gold trading and price fixing.
  7. Austria: Austria is known for its gold coin production, particularly the Austrian Philharmonic gold coins, which are widely recognized and popular among investors.
  8. France: France has a historical association with gold, and gold jewelry remains a cherished possession among the French. Paris, in particular, is famous for its luxury gold jewelry boutiques.
  9. Spain: Spain has a tradition of gold craftsmanship, and gold jewelry is highly valued among Spaniards. The city of Cordoba is renowned for its goldsmithing tradition. And of course, made famous due to the very popular Netflix show La Casa De Papel, Banco de España holds massive reserves of gold in its vault called “The Chamber of Gold.” Of course, in reality the gold wasn’t stolen, so it should still have an enormous reserve of gold.

African Countries

Several African countries have significant gold reserves and production. Gold mining is a significant economic activity in African countries, in addition to providing cultural and religious significance. Here are a few ways gold is used in various countries in Africa:

  1. Gold Mining: Several African countries have significant gold reserves and engage in gold mining as a major economic activity. Countries like South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso are known for their substantial gold production and exports.
  2. Economic Revenue: Gold mining contributes to the national economies of many African countries. It serves as a significant source of revenue, foreign exchange earnings, and job opportunities, contributing to economic growth and development.
  3. Export: African nations often export gold to international markets, where it is used for various purposes, including jewelry production, investment, and industrial applications.
  4. Jewelry and Ornaments: Gold holds cultural significance in many African societies, and gold jewelry and ornaments are often worn during weddings, festivals, and special occasions. In some cultures, gold is also used as a status symbol.
  5. Investment and Savings: In certain African countries, individuals and families see gold as a valuable investment and a means of preserving wealth. Gold jewelry and coins are sometimes acquired as a form of savings and insurance against economic uncertainties.
  6. Art and Craftsmanship: Gold is used in traditional art and craftsmanship in some African nations. Local artisans and goldsmiths create intricate gold jewelry and decorative items, showcasing their skills and cultural heritage.
  7. Central Bank Reserves: Some African countries’ central banks hold gold reserves as part of their monetary policy and foreign exchange management strategies.


We visited the Museo del Oro a few years ago to view how the ancient Colombians used gold in their society. If you want to view pictures of gold and see how it was used, check out our article on gold in ancient Columbia.

colombian gold


Singapore is a popular destination for purchasing and storing gold due to its reputation as a stable financial hub. The country has relaxed tax regulations on gold, making it attractive for investors.


Restrictions and Regulations

Some countries may impose restrictions on the export or import of gold to manage their foreign exchange reserves and balance of payments. Additionally, there may be regulations on the purity and quality of gold sold within a country.

It’s important to research and understand the specific customs and regulations regarding gold in any country you are interested in, as these can change over time. If you plan to travel with gold or invest in gold in a different country, it’s best to consult with customs authorities or financial experts to ensure compliance with local laws.

For example, in July of 2023, India started restricting the import of plain gold jewelry. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is hording gold in an effort to wean itself off the US Dollar as the international currency of exchange.

Due to its general stability, gold continues to be a tool for governments, investors, and institutions as part of political and economic strategy. These are layered on top of the many customs, traditions, and rituals gold is important for across the world.

However, due to the international laws regarding commerce and trade, at Cash for Gold Mailer we only purchase gold from people in the United States.

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