Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and atomic number 79. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements, and is solid under standard conditions. The metal therefore occurs often in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins and in alluvial deposits. It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver (as electrum) and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium (gold tellurides).

This metal has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history. In the past, a gold standard was often implemented as a monetary policy within and between nations, but gold coins ceased to be minted as a circulating currency in the 1930s, and the world gold standard (see article for details) was finally abandoned for a fiat currency system after 1976. The historical value of gold was rooted in its medium rarity, easy handling and minting, easy smelting, non-corrodability, distinct color, and non-reactivity to other elements