Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au (from the Latin aurum, meaning shining dawn) and atomic number 79. It is a highly sought-after precious metal which, for many centuries, has been used as money, a store of value and in jewellery.
The metal occurs as nuggets or grains in rocks, underground "veins" and in alluvial deposits. It is one of the coinage metals. Gold is dense, soft, shiny and the most malleable and ductile of the known metals. Pure gold has a bright yellow colour traditionally considered attractive.
Gold formed the basis for the gold standard used before the fiat currency monetary system was employed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). It is specifically against IMF regulations to base any currency against gold for all IMF member states. The ISO currency code of gold bullion is XAU.
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