Known and highly valued from earliest times, gold is found in nature as the free metal and in tellurides; it is very widely distributed and is almost always associated with quartz or pyrite. It occurs in veins and alluvial deposits, and is often separated from rocks and other minerals by mining and panning operations. It is a standard for monetary systems in many worlds. It is also used for jewelry, decoration, plating, coating for certain artificial satellites and a reflector of infrared.
A planet with high amounts of gold deposits is known as an auric world.