Why is latinum pressed in gold to make "gold-pressed latinum"? Which is worth more?
Is it because latinum is softer than gold (just a guess)?
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Latinum is a liquid at normal temperature and pressure. It's pressed into gold so that it can be weighed, measured, carried, handled, etc. Chemically speaking, gold is one of the least reactive metals -- it does not readily rust, corrode, dissolve, or interact with its environment. This makes it a particularly good choice as a "bonding agent" for latinum.
As far as it's worth, in a society with replicator technology, gold is effectively worthless as currency. You can create as much as you want at will. Latinum, since it cannot be reproduced in a replicator, is basically the only thing in the galaxy that has any real material "value" at all.
Latinum is worth more than Gold by the time of DS9. It is one of the few substances which cannot be replicated, making it a limited resource, and giving it value. Gold, by contrast, is considered "worthless" by some species, since it is easily replicated and has no practical use beyond decoration.
Its natural state is as a liquid. It is usually suspended in gold for ease of handling. Solid latinum is available, although it is presumably bound with some other substance to achieve this state.
Some further information on its relative value can be found at Memory Alpha.