Native Elements and Minerals List

Metals, nonmetals, and alloys that occur free in nature

Copper in an example of a native element or one that occurs naturally in pure form.
Terry Wilson, Getty Images

Native elements are chemical elements that occur in nature in an uncombined or pure form. Although most elements are found only in compounds, a rare few are native. For the most part, native elements also form chemical bonds and occur in compounds. Here is a list of these elements:

Native Elements That Are Metals

Ancient man was familiar with several pure elements, mainly metals. Several of the noble metals, such as gold and platinum, exist free in nature. The gold group and platinum group, for example, are all elements that exist in the native state. The rare earth metals are among elements that do not exist in native form.

  • Aluminum - Al
  • Bismuth - Bi
  • Cadmium - Cd
  • Chromium - Cr
  • Copper - Cu
  • Gold - Au
  • Indium - In
  • Iron - Fe
  • Iridium - Ir
  • Lead - Pb
  • Mercury - Hg
  • Nickel - Ni
  • Osmium - Os
  • Palladium - Pd
  • Platinum - Pt
  • Rhenium - Re
  • Rhodium - Rh
  • Silver - Ag
  • Tantalum - Ta
  • Tin - Sn
  • Titanium - Ti
  • Vanadium - V
  • Zinc - Zn

Native Elements That Are Metalloids or Semimetals

  • Antimony - Sb
  • Arsenic - As
  • Silicon - Si
  • Tellurium - Te

Native Elements That Are Nonmetals

Note gases are not listed here, even though they may exist in pure form. This is because gases are not considered minerals and also because they freely mix with other gases, so you are unlikely to encounter a pure sample. However, the noble gases do not readily combine with other elements, so you might consider them native in that respect. The noble gases include helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon. Similarly, diatomic gases, such as hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are not considered native elements.

  • Carbon - C
  • Selenium - Se
  • Sulfur - S

Native Alloys

In addition to elements that occur in the native state, there are a few alloys also found free in nature:

The native alloys and other native metals were mankind's only access to metals prior to the development of smelting, which is believed to have begun around 6500 BC. Even though metals were known before this, they typically occurred in very small quantities, so they were not available to most people.


  • Fleischer, Michael; Cabri, Louis J.; Chao, George Y.; Pabst, Adolf (1980). "New Mineral Names." American Mineralogist. 65: 1065–1070.
  • Mills, S.J.; Hatert, F.; Nickel, E.H.; Ferraris, G. (2009). "The standardisation of mineral group hierarchies: application to recent nomenclature proposals." Eur. J. Mineral. 21: 1073–1080. doi:10.1127/0935-1221/2009/0021-1994
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Native Elements and Minerals List." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 25). Native Elements and Minerals List. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Native Elements and Minerals List." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 29, 2023).