Until now all permanent magnets were made of some ferrogmagnetic material, of which the most common is iron. Other such magnetizable materials are cobalt, nickel the exotic element gadolinium, as well as some composites.
Since now, other metals, namely gold, silver and copper can also become permanent magnets and remain that way at normal temperatures.
The historical achievement is the work of three Basque researchers: Eider Goikolea Núñez (for whom this work is her PhD), José Javier Sainz Garitaonaindia and Maite Insausti Peña (leading professors), all members of the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU). Besides the three Basque researchers, academic teams of Australia and Japan have also collaborated.
The result is not new ferromagnetic materials but rather the smallest magnets ever: nanomagnetism!