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Wikipedia article

This article is about an older version of DF.

Gold is a high-value, relatively common metal. The only ore of gold is native gold, which yields gold nuggets when mined. Each gold nugget can be turned into four gold bars at a smelter or magma smelter by a dwarf with the furnace operating labor enabled. Gold used to be one of the three metals (with copper and silver) used to mint coins for the Dwarven economy and has the highest value of the three.

Gold may be combined with other metals at a smelter or magma smelter to form several alloys:

None of the gold alloys have a greater material value than gold itself, but may prove useful if gold is particularly scarce on a map. Further, if gold nuggets (material value 30) are smelted directly with a low-value silver ore such as galena (material value 5) or tetrahedrite (material value 3), it will produce eight bars of electrum (material value 20) for a net gain in total value.

Refining gold nuggets produces 4 bars, which can result in significantly increased value compared to the original nuggets; however in some cases it may be advantageous to make furniture directly from gold ore, since it requires no fuel and uses a labor that is easily trained. Native gold furniture may also be useful to satisfy a noble's mandate or demand. To use native gold for furniture and the like, you should place a stone stockpile allowing only native gold near your Mason's workshop (native gold furniture, blocks, etc.), Craftsdwarf's workshop (native gold crafts), or Mechanic's workshop (native gold mechanisms) and enable "gold nuggets" (not "gold") using the z : Stone menu. To avoid wasting gold nuggets, assign your stockpile to 'give' only to one specific workshop, and disable non-economic use upon completion.

Note that a dwarf who has a preference for gold metal will not be particularly impressed by items crafted from native gold nuggets, and vice-versa.