Gold is one thing the Fowl family desire above all else. Their family motto is "Aurum Est Potestas," which means "Gold is Power". Artemis used to value gold more than anything, but as he grew it became less of a desire. He asked for one ton of unmarked 24 carat gold as Holly Short's hostage fund and one metric ton of gold as payment for his C Cube, when he intended to sell it to Jon Spiro in The Eternity Code. When Artemis asked for his consultant's fee when he agreed to help Holly in defeating Opal Koboi, he demanded one ton of gold from the hostage fund. He has said many times before that his father used to tell him the value of gold. He has often said that gold holds its value and that is why he likes it. He also said that to be successful you need leverage, and gold is leverage.
Once a human successfully separated gold from the Fairies, they get to keep it and no fairy can ever get it back, according to The Book.
The LEP's hostage fund is comprised entirely of gold ingots.
Behind the scenes
Both the book Artemis Fowl:A Fowl Adventure and the featurette "Meet Holly," as well as the deleted scene "Search for the Book" suggest a version of the Artemis Fowl film which focused heavily on the character of Artemis Fowl Jr. trying to acquire fairy gold, as in the original Artemis Fowl novel. In the final film, however, gold is never mentioned and the plot is instead focused on a MacGuffin known as the "Aculos."