By definition, a metal is classified as precious if it is rare. Precious metals are metallic chemical elements which occur naturally. Examples of precious metals include gold, silver, and platinum. Palladium, another highly valued precious metal, is actually part of the platinum group. Other platinum group metals include rhodium, ruthenium, and iridium.
Precious metals are valued not only because they are rare, but also because of such physical qualities as their malleability and ductility. Metalsmiths throughout history have used precious metals for a wide variety of innovations.
It would be difficult to locate someone who does not use a precious metal in some form or another. From the earliest civilizations, precious metals have been used to exchange for goods. Once people found they could shape precious metals to suite their various needs or desires, the possibilities became endless. These civilizations used precious metals in jewelry, artwork, silverware, and even for thread in embroidery. A fascinating archeological dig uncovered an Egyptian gold coffin that dated back to the second millennium BC.
In modern times, precious metals have become invaluable commodities that are used in much of modern technology. The list of technological innovations includes the use of precious metals in the production of medical equipment, in dentistry, for such things as catalytic converters, electrical contacts, conduits, aircraft spark plugs and so much more. The uses are infinite.
The supply of precious metals is not infinite. As a result, they are of high value for investors. Precious metal bullion, in particular, is increasingly being added to investment portfolios as a source of diversification and security. Traded on the commodity market, precious metal bullion provides a hedge against economic recession. Unlike fiat money, precious metal bullion, as illustrated above, has intrinsic value that maintains its worth. As our human population increases and is living longer, the need for an increasing amount and variety of goods made from precious metals will cause the demand to go up exponentially. As precious metals are driven by supply and demand, the price of precious metals will rise as well.
Whether you own precious metal in bullion, the more straightforward way of owning precious metal, or precious metal is in your home in the form of jewelry or in the catalytic converter on your vehicle, most of us depend on precious metals. Success in financial ventures, medical services, artwork and so much more depends on these rare commodities.