Gold has traditionally been used since before recorded history in coinage and jewelry and more recently it has proven to have industrial uses as well. The main point however is that gold has always been a store of value. Gold is priced, measured, and quoted in Grams and Troy Ounces.
Gold has the ability to also play a factor in times of inflation and deflation. That is why gold has been historically referred to as the "barometer of fear". When the economy has taken a turn for the worse, people turn to gold and purchase it as it has a constant value.
The best way to think of gold is as an insurance policy. If the currency or economy slumps, gold retains its value as insurance against the paper currency in your country. For example, during the Great Depression, many people saw their money and investments become worthless almost overnight. However, those who invested their wealth in gold survived and even flourished when compared to those around them.
It is recommended to purchase gold in small amounts on a regular basis. Gold should always play a part in your wealth and a good percentage of it would be 10 percent of your wealth. However, in a struggling economy, the amount of gold you have should be higher.
On a final note, remember that gold will always have value and be recognized for its worth anywhere in the world. It can easily be purchased, sold, and traded at all times and in every country regardless of the current economic times.