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Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. it is a chemical element with the symbol au (aurum in latin, meaning glow of sunrise) and atomic number 79. it has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. it is one of the least reactive chemical elements solid under standard conditions.