Everybody knows about gold and silver.
After all, they’re the rock stars in the world of precious metals. But what about the other types of precious metals? If you’re interested in buying precious metals or investing, it’s important to know what your options are.
There are nine precious metals in total. It’s important to know the key players before investing, although gold, silver, and platinum are among the most popular.
Let’s take a look at some examples of precious metals you can invest in.
The Types of Precious Metals
So what exactly are precious metals?
In a nutshell, they are elemental metals with a high value in the world’s economy. It have often been used as currency throughout history, and they are very rare.
Investing in precious metals has always been a safe hedge against economic uncertainty because the popularity of these metals is not likely to wane anytime soon. Here’s a list of some of the types of precious metals:
Gold is, without doubt, the most recognizable of all the precious metals.
It has been prized throughout human history for its yellow luster, which evokes the color of the sun. It is a soft, corrosion-resistant metal that has been used in the highest currency denominations of many civilizations, including the aureus of the Roman Empire and the Byzantine solidus.
Gold is used in jewelry (of course), as well as in industrial applications such as electronics, insulation, and radiation shielding.
After gold, silver is the next most recognizable precious metal. And along with gold, silver has been much prized throughout history, and has also figured in the currency of many states and civilizations.
In recent times, however, its uses have extended far beyond numismatic applications. Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity among all the metals, which is why it is ideal for use in electronics.
For instance, silver is now coveted for solar panels, as part of the burgeoning “green” economy. It also has uses in smartphones (among other electronics), dentistry, photography, and even in antimicrobial agents.
Platinum is perhaps the most precious of the precious metals—more precious even than gold.
It’s a whitish metal, not too dissimilar to silver in color, but it’s almost fifteen times rarer than gold. And though the price of metals can fluctuate, the rarity and usefulness of platinum means it is consistently valuable.
Palladium is very similar to platinum in many respects.
It’s rare, highly malleable, and can remain stable even at high temperatures. Most of its uses are in industrial work, such as manufacturing catalytic converters, as well as for plating electrodes in various electronics.
Rhodium is another rare, silvery metal with a number of unique properties. It’s highly resistant to corrosion, and its high melting point means it is ideal for a number of industrial uses.
It is one of the densest of metals (along with osmium), and is both corrosion resistant and has a very high melting point. Iridium is used for industrial purposes, such as in the automotive industry, as well as in jewelry and electronics.
Know Your Precious Metals Before Investing
There are only a handful of precious metals in the world, and they’re important to both industry and the global economy.
Some, like gold, silver, and platinum, are among the top types of precious metals for investing. Others, like rhodium and iridium, are not used for investment purposes.
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