Gold is an elemental metal prized since ancient times. Densest of the common metals (and therefore heaviest per volume), it does not rust (although old gold develops a soft patina) and is generally considered beautiful for its own sake.
Too easily malleable for use in tools, gold is often worked into jewelry or coinage thus increasing its value; gold jewelry and decoration is a common status symbol throughout period. Gold is so malleable, in fact, it can even be hammered flat to a few molecules of thickness, producing gold leaf, a decorative substance highly useful in illumination or gilding.
In Latin, gold is called aurum meaning shining dawn, and its chemical designation is "Au".
In ancient times gold was identified as one of the seven planetary metals -- pure and indivisible substances, which could not be further refined. Astrologers identified it with the sun.