We're first introduced to latinum by the Ferengi in DS9.
Latinum is now considered the go-to currency in the Star Trek universe because it's so rare and can't be replicated. Gold (Au) and diamonds (a gem made of carbon atoms linked together in a lattice structure) on the other hand can be dug up by scratching around in the dirt on earth and other planets and can also apparently be replicated.
Beyond their intrinsic 'beauty', both gold and diamonds have industrial uses including refraction of light and conduction of electricity. This begs the question, where does latinum actually come from and what is it? Is it a naturally occurring element with only a certain number of locations where it occurs? Does it have any other value beyond it's rarity and inability to be replicated?