A soft metal with a characteristic deep lustrous yellow or yellow-brown color. Au chemical symbol,  with the chemical element of atomic number 79, valued for use in jewelry and decoration, and to guarantee the value of currencies. The purest form of money, and the oldest, most durable, gold, aurum was already legal tender before the first coins. The oldest gold coins derive from the seventh century BC.
Investors use gold as a store of value. Gold metal offers the appearance of capital appreciation compared to depreciating currencies. Gold has always had favorable liquidity, but gold is sterile, it does not provide any current income.  Gold does not provide positive cash flow to the owner. Gold owners must pay to maintain, store, and insure gold, which is an expense to the holder. On a cash flow basis, gold is a liability, gold costs you to own it. 
Unlike is commonly believed, US citizens could always have owned gold as long as the gold was in the form of a coin. Coins can be purchased from the Mint of major countries like Canada or the USA.  
If returns were adjusted for inflation from 1802 to 2001. $1.00 invested in stocks would have returned $599,605.00 while bonds and bills would have returned $952.00 and $304.00. The results for investments in gold and the US dollar would have resulted in losses, since that $1.00 investment in gold would have been reduced to 98 cents and the US dollar only seven cents. 
c.1400 yellow, green, bright. In reference to the color of the metal. Gold rush is attested from 1859, originally in an Australian context.  15c aureate. gold, gold-colored, splendid, brilliant, to shine.