Precious Metals: Gold, Silver, Platinum Investments

Top 10 Precious Metals Used as Investments

Precious metals have been sources of storing value throughout extended history. Until the 1971 departure of the United States monetary system from being backed by gold, the value of our money was historically tied to closely

Here is a list of the top 10 precious metals that are commonly purchased as investments:

  1. Gold
  2. Silver
  3. Platinum
  4. Palladium
  5. Rhodium
  6. Ruthenium
  7. Iridium
  8. Osmium
  9. Rhenium
  10. Copper (often considered a semi-precious metal)

We’ll talk about each of these precious metals below.

But first, some context and a bit more background on why people invest in precious metals is in order. Here we go.

What Qualifies a Metal as “Precious”?

A metal is typically considered precious if it is rare, valuable, and has certain desirable characteristics such as being highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation, ductile, and malleable. Precious metals are often used in jewelry, coins, and as investment assets due to their perceived rarity and value. The term “precious metals” is typically used to refer to a specific group of metals that have been historically recognized as having high value, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Other metals may also be considered precious depending on their scarcity and industrial uses.

Bronze and titanium are useful metals, but they are not typically considered precious metals due to their relative abundance and lower market value compared to precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Precious metals have historically been valued for their rarity, which makes them more expensive and difficult to obtain. While bronze and titanium are certainly valuable and important metals for various applications, they are not as rare or in as high demand as precious metals. Additionally, precious metals have unique physical and chemical properties that make them highly desirable for use in jewelry, currency, and other high-value applications.

Precious Metals Hedge Against Inflation and Threats to US Dollar

Precious metals like gold and silver are often viewed as a hedge against inflation and a way to protect against threats to the US dollar. This is because they are tangible assets that hold their value over time, whereas paper currencies can lose value due to inflation, political instability, and other factors.

During periods of economic uncertainty or inflation, investors may choose to invest in gold and silver as a way to preserve their wealth and diversify their investment portfolios. Precious metals are also often used as a safe haven asset during times of crisis, as they are not subject to the same market volatility as stocks and other financial assets.

One common way to invest in gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and other threats to the US dollar is through the purchase of physical bullion or coins. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that invest in precious metals are also popular investment vehicles for those seeking exposure to gold and silver. Additionally, some investors may choose to invest in mining stocks or other companies that are involved in the production and sale of precious metals.


Gold

Gold has been a popular investment for centuries, with a long history of being used as a store of value and a safe haven asset. It’s highly valued for its rarity, durability, and beauty, and has served as a medium of exchange and a symbol of wealth for millennia. Here’s a breakdown of gold as an investment:

Historical price: The price of gold has fluctuated over time, but it has generally trended upward over the long term. In recent decades, gold has experienced significant price increases, with the price per ounce rising from around $300 in the early 2000s to over $1,800 in 2021.

Risks: Like any investment, gold carries risks. The price of gold can be affected by a range of factors, including economic and political instability, inflation, and changes in supply and demand. Additionally, there are costs associated with purchasing and storing physical gold, and investing in gold ETFs or mining stocks can also carry risks.

Value: Gold is valuable for a number of reasons. It’s rare and difficult to extract, which makes it a finite resource that holds its value over time. It’s also durable and doesn’t corrode, which makes it a good store of value. Additionally, gold is a universally recognized asset that is accepted around the world as a form of payment or exchange.

Investing in gold: There are a few ways to invest in gold, depending on your preferences and goals. One option is to purchase physical gold in the form of coins, bars, or jewelry. Another option is to invest in gold ETFs, which are exchange-traded funds that invest in physical gold or gold futures contracts. Finally, you can invest in gold mining stocks, which are shares of companies that mine for gold.

When compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, gold is often seen as a more stable and safe investment. While it may not offer the same potential for high returns as stocks, gold is often used as a hedge against economic uncertainty and inflation, and can be a good addition to a well-diversified investment portfolio. However, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in gold before making any decisions.

Silver

Silver is the second most popular precious metal investment, behind gold. Here’s a breakdown of silver as an investment.

Historical price: The price of silver, like gold, has been historically volatile, but it has generally trended upward over the long term. In recent years, the price of silver has risen from around $15 per ounce in 2015 to over $25 per ounce in 2021.

Risks: As with any investment, there are risks associated with investing in silver. The price of silver can be affected by a range of factors, including economic and political instability, inflation, and changes in supply and demand. Additionally, investing in physical silver carries costs for storage and security, and investing in silver ETFs or mining stocks can also carry risks.

Value: Silver is a valuable asset for a number of reasons. Like gold, it is a finite resource that holds its value over time due to its rarity and difficulty of extraction. It is also used in a range of industrial applications, including electronics, solar panels, and medical equipment, which gives it intrinsic value beyond its use as a store of value.

Investing in silver: There are a few ways to invest in silver, depending on your preferences and goals. One option is to purchase physical silver in the form of coins or bars. Another option is to invest in silver ETFs, which are exchange-traded funds that invest in physical silver or silver futures contracts. Finally, you can invest in silver mining stocks, which are shares of companies that mine for silver.

When compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, silver is often seen as a more speculative investment due to its volatility and industrial uses. While it may not offer the same level of stability as gold, silver can be a good addition to a well-diversified investment portfolio for those seeking exposure to a range of commodities. However, as with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in silver before making any decisions.

Platinum

Platinum is the next most popular precious metal. Here’s a breakdown of platinum as an investment.

Historical price: The price of platinum has historically been more volatile than gold and silver, with sharp price swings driven by changes in demand and supply. In recent years, the price of platinum has ranged from around $800 per ounce in 2015 to over $1,200 per ounce in 2021.

Risks: Like any investment, platinum carries risks. The price of platinum can be affected by a range of factors, including changes in supply and demand, geopolitical tensions, and global economic trends. Additionally, investing in physical platinum carries costs for storage and security, and investing in platinum ETFs or mining stocks can also carry risks.

Value: Platinum is a valuable asset for several reasons. It is a rare and valuable metal, with a limited supply that is difficult to extract. It is also used in a variety of industrial applications, including catalytic converters, jewelry, and electronic components, which gives it intrinsic value beyond its use as a store of value.

Investing in platinum: There are several ways to invest in platinum, depending on your preferences and goals. One option is to purchase physical platinum in the form of coins or bars. Another option is to invest in platinum ETFs, which are exchange-traded funds that invest in physical platinum or platinum futures contracts. Finally, you can invest in platinum mining stocks, which are shares of companies that mine for platinum.

When compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, platinum is often seen as a more speculative investment due to its volatility and niche industrial uses. While it may not offer the same level of stability as gold, platinum can be a good addition to a well-diversified investment portfolio for those seeking exposure to a range of commodities. However, as with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in platinum before making any decisions.

Palladium

Palladium comes in at number four on the most popular precious metals for investment, just behind platinum. Here’s a description of palladium as an investment.

Historical price: The price of palladium has been highly volatile over the years, but has generally trended upward in recent years due to increasing demand and limited supply. In 2015, palladium was trading around $600 per ounce, and by 2021 it was trading at over $2,000 per ounce.

Risks: Like any investment, palladium carries risks. The price of palladium can be affected by a range of factors, including changes in supply and demand, geopolitical tensions, and global economic trends. Additionally, investing in physical palladium carries costs for storage and security, and investing in palladium ETFs or mining stocks can also carry risks.

Value: Palladium is a valuable metal due to its unique properties, including high melting point and resistance to corrosion. It is primarily used in catalytic converters for automobiles, as well as in electronics and jewelry. As with platinum, palladium is a rare and difficult-to-extract metal with a limited supply, which contributes to its value as a commodity.

Investing in palladium: There are several ways to invest in palladium, depending on your preferences and goals. One option is to purchase physical palladium in the form of coins or bars. Another option is to invest in palladium ETFs, which are exchange-traded funds that invest in physical palladium or palladium futures contracts. Finally, you can invest in palladium mining stocks, which are shares of companies that mine for palladium.

Compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, palladium is often seen as a more speculative investment due to its volatility and niche industrial uses. While it may not offer the same level of stability as gold, palladium can be a good addition to a well-diversified investment portfolio for those seeking exposure to a range of commodities. However, as with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in palladium before making any decisions.

Rhodium

Rhodium is the fifth most common precious metal used for investing.

Here’s a description of rhodium as an investment:

Historical price: Rhodium is one of the rarest precious metals, and its price has been extremely volatile over the years. In 2008, the price of rhodium reached an all-time high of nearly $10,000 per ounce, before crashing to under $1,000 per ounce in the following years. In recent years, the price of rhodium has surged again, reaching over $20,000 per ounce in 2021.

Risks: Rhodium is a highly speculative investment, and its price can be extremely volatile. The market for rhodium is relatively small, which means that even small changes in supply and demand can have a big impact on its price. Additionally, investing in physical rhodium carries costs for storage and security, and investing in rhodium ETFs or mining stocks can also carry risks.

Value: Rhodium is valued for its unique properties, including its high melting point and resistance to corrosion. It is primarily used in catalytic converters for automobiles, as well as in the production of chemicals and electronics. Rhodium is also one of the rarest precious metals, with a limited supply that is difficult to extract, which contributes to its value as a commodity.

Investing in rhodium: There are several ways to invest in rhodium, depending on your preferences and goals. One option is to purchase physical rhodium in the form of bars or coins. Another option is to invest in rhodium ETFs, which are exchange-traded funds that invest in physical rhodium or rhodium futures contracts. Finally, you can invest in rhodium mining stocks, which are shares of companies that mine for rhodium.

Compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, investing in rhodium is considered to be a high-risk, high-reward investment strategy due to the extreme volatility of the metal’s price. While rhodium may not offer the same level of stability as other precious metals like gold or silver, it can be a good addition to a well-diversified investment portfolio for those seeking exposure to a range of commodities. However, as with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in rhodium before making any decisions.

Ruthenium

Here’s one you may not have heard of: Ruthenium. Ruthenium is not widely understood in the investment world, but it’s another precious metal option. Here’s a description of ruthenium as an investment.

Historical price: Ruthenium is a rare and relatively obscure metal, so it doesn’t have a well-established market like gold or silver. Historically, the price of ruthenium has been relatively stable, trading at around $100 per ounce for much of the past decade. However, the price can be quite volatile, and there have been periods of significant price spikes in the past.

Risks: Investing in ruthenium carries many of the same risks as investing in other commodities, such as price volatility, lack of liquidity, and geopolitical risks. However, because ruthenium is not as widely traded as other precious metals, it can be harder to buy and sell, which can make it a riskier investment.

Value: Ruthenium is a rare and highly versatile metal that is used in a variety of industrial applications. It is primarily used in the production of electronics, as well as in the manufacture of alloys for use in jet engine turbines and other high-temperature applications. Ruthenium is also used in the production of catalytic converters, which help to reduce emissions from automobiles.

Investing in ruthenium: Ruthenium is not as widely traded as other precious metals, so it can be more challenging to invest in. One option is to invest in companies that mine or produce ruthenium, although there are relatively few such companies, and their stocks can be quite volatile. Another option is to invest in ETFs or mutual funds that hold a diversified portfolio of metals, including ruthenium.

Compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, investing in ruthenium is considered to be a highly speculative investment strategy due to the lack of an established market and the limited availability of investment options. While ruthenium can be a good addition to a well-diversified portfolio, it should be considered as a high-risk, high-reward investment due to its volatility and lack of liquidity. As with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in ruthenium before making any decisions.

Iridium

Iridium is used to make satellite communication systems and other really cool stuff that we likely wouldn’t have without this precious metal. Here’s a description of iridium as an investment.

Historical price: Iridium is one of the rarest metals on earth, with a limited supply that makes it highly valuable. It is also highly volatile in price, with prices ranging from $500 to $4,000 per troy ounce in recent years. In 2008, the price of iridium briefly soared to over $10,000 per ounce before dropping sharply.

Risks: Investing in iridium carries many of the same risks as investing in other commodities, such as price volatility, lack of liquidity, and geopolitical risks. However, because iridium is one of the rarest and most expensive metals, it is an even riskier investment than other precious metals. The limited availability of iridium can make it difficult to buy and sell, and its price can be highly volatile.

Value: Iridium is highly valued for its unique physical and chemical properties, including its resistance to corrosion and extreme heat. It is primarily used in the production of high-tech applications, including electronics, telecommunications, and aerospace. Iridium is also used in the production of catalytic converters, which help to reduce emissions from automobiles.

Investing in iridium: Because iridium is such a rare and expensive metal, investing in it can be challenging. One option is to invest in companies that mine or produce iridium, although there are relatively few such companies, and their stocks can be quite volatile. Another option is to invest in ETFs or mutual funds that hold a diversified portfolio of metals, including iridium.

Compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, investing in iridium is considered to be a highly speculative investment strategy due to its limited availability and extreme price volatility. While iridium can be a good addition to a well-diversified portfolio, it should be considered as a high-risk, high-reward investment due to its rarity and potential for significant price swings. As with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in iridium before making any decisions.

Osmium

Osmium has the highest density of all elements, which means that it is the heaviest element in the periodic table. Here’s a description of osmium as an investment.

Historical price: Osmium is one of the rarest elements on earth, and its price is highly volatile due to its limited supply. In recent years, prices have ranged from around $300 to $1,000 per troy ounce.

Risks: Investing in osmium carries many of the same risks as investing in other commodities, such as price volatility, lack of liquidity, and geopolitical risks. However, because osmium is so rare and difficult to obtain, it is an even riskier investment than other precious metals. The limited availability of osmium can make it difficult to buy and sell, and its price can be highly volatile.

Value: Osmium is highly valued for its unique physical and chemical properties, including its hardness and resistance to corrosion. It is primarily used in the production of high-tech applications, including electronics, automotive, and aerospace industries. Osmium is also used in the production of fountain pen tips and in the making of fine jewelry.

Investing in osmium: Due to its rarity, investing in osmium can be challenging. One option is to invest in companies that mine or produce osmium, although there are relatively few such companies, and their stocks can be quite volatile. Another option is to invest in ETFs or mutual funds that hold a diversified portfolio of metals, including osmium.

Compared to typical alternatives like stocks or bonds, investing in osmium is considered to be a highly speculative investment strategy due to its limited availability and extreme price volatility. While osmium can be a good addition to a well-diversified portfolio, it should be considered as a high-risk, high-reward investment due to its rarity and potential for significant price swings. As with any investment, it’s important to carefully consider the risks and costs associated with investing in osmium before making any decisions.

Rhenium

Rhenium has the second-highest melting point of any element, surpassed only by tungsten. Its melting point is approximately 3,180 degrees Celsius, which makes it an ideal material for high-temperature applications in the aerospace and electronics industries.

Here’s a description of investing in rhenium.

Rhenium is a relatively rare and expensive transition metal that is primarily used in the aerospace industry due to its high melting point and strength at high temperatures. Its value as an investment lies in its scarcity and industrial applications. Historically, rhenium prices have been volatile, with significant fluctuations in price due to changes in supply and demand.

Investing in rhenium is not a typical alternative to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. It is a specialized investment that requires specific knowledge of the market and access to reliable sources of information. Additionally, investing in physical rhenium can be challenging due to its scarcity and the difficulty in storing and transporting it.

One way to invest in rhenium is through a commodities futures contract, which allows investors to purchase rhenium at a fixed price with the intention of selling it later for a profit. However, this type of investment carries significant risks, such as the possibility of changes in the market that could result in substantial losses.

Investing in rhenium is a unique opportunity for those with specialized knowledge of the market and a willingness to take on the risks associated with this type of investment.

Copper

Copper is a popular industrial metal and is widely used in the construction, electrical and electronics industries, as well as in transportation and consumer goods. The most common use of copper is in electrical wiring and plumbing. Copper has been a valuable metal for thousands of years due to its high thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as its resistance to corrosion. Investing in copper can provide diversification benefits to a portfolio, as it has historically shown low correlation to other asset classes.

Historically, copper prices have been volatile, but have generally trended upwards over the long term due to increasing global demand for the metal. In recent years, copper prices have been affected by various factors such as supply disruptions, trade tensions, and shifts in global economic growth. It is important to note that investing in copper carries some risks, including fluctuations in demand and supply, geopolitical risks, and exposure to currency fluctuations.

Investing in copper can be done through various means, including futures contracts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and physical copper investments such as coins or bars. ETFs are a popular option as they allow for easy exposure to copper prices without having to store physical copper. Copper futures contracts, on the other hand, are more suitable for experienced investors who are comfortable with the risks associated with trading commodity futures.

In comparison to investing in precious metals such as gold or silver, investing in copper may provide greater exposure to global economic growth and infrastructure spending. Copper has a wide range of industrial applications, which means its price is closely tied to economic growth and development. Additionally, copper has historically shown a lower degree of correlation to other asset classes, which means it may offer portfolio diversification benefits.

Conclusion

There you have it, a list of the ten most common precious metals that are used as investments. Hopefully the information you found here was useful, if not at least educational.

Gold and silver are the most typical precious metal investments, the ones you hear about most in the news and when economic times start getting a bit unstable. However, for those who want to go beyond vanilla with their precious metal investments, there are obviously some other alternatives.

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