Precious Metals and Their Applications

precious metals

Precious metals are naturally occurring, high-value metallic chemical substances of exceptional economic value. When refined and manufactured into usable money, they lose their value. Still, those who own them (including countries in Asia, Africa, and other regions) appreciate them both for their rarity and their high value on the global market. For example, gold, platinum, and silver are all more valuable today than they were even one hundred years ago.

The most commonly known and valuable of these precious metals is platinum. This metal is also the most abundant mineral in the entire Earth’s crust. Platinum is not only used for its aesthetic and electrical qualities, but it also has powerful physical properties that make it the metal of choice for surgical implants, electronics, and batteries. It has excellent corrosion resistance, and because of its high electrical conductivity, it is widely used as an electrical insulator. Unfortunately, although platinum is extremely sturdy and durable, it is also highly toxic to humans and animals. Due to these properties, it is banned in some areas and restricted in others, and there have been serious efforts to develop better alternatives. To learn more on precious metals restrictions and other information, go to

Silver is the fourth most common metal in use today. Like platinum, it has excellent electrical and corrosion resistance, but it lacks the toxicity of platinum. Because silver is still a precious metal, however, it is still mined in large quantities worldwide and is used to produce flat irons, surgical instruments, space shuttles, car parts, and even wedding rings. Because of the popularity and practicality of silver, many new uses for this metal are being discovered every year. It is now being used to strengthen steel by forming sheets of it into armor, to be used in air conditioning and refrigerators, to be shaped into fireworks, and as an antimicrobial agent for medical equipment.

Gold is the fifth most popular and valuable of the precious metals. Its high value is due mainly to its physical luster, its durability, and its ability to stand the test of time. People have used gold for adornments for thousands of years, and it continues to be highly prized even in this modern era. Although it is tough, its surface can easily be scratched or discolored, but this property does not render it unfit for making jewelry. Gold can be fashioned into exquisite jewelry designs. Because it is very soft and ductile, it is often shaped into thin strips and is often used to make wedding bands.

Platinum is the sixth most common and the third most valuable of the precious metals. Like gold, platinum is a precious metal that commands a high price because of its unique combination of physical luster and fine electrical conductivity. Like gold, it is also resistant to corrosion and does not need any special treatments to keep it clean. Unfortunately, though, platinum is increasingly scarce, so it is no longer in great demand.

Nickel is the seventh most widely-used precious metal after gold, silver, and platinum. It is extremely durable and ductile, and it is widely used as an alloy for strengthening steel. Nickel, like gold, is also difficult to find and is, therefore, more expensive than most other metals. The major sources of nickel are usually hard rock such as diamond, granite, limestone, and the like.

Iron is the ninth most commonly used and the third most precious metal after gold and platinum. Like gold, iron is a soft metal that can be molded into all shapes and sizes. It is a good metal for strengthening metal alloys and for combining with other metals. Its sturdiness is attributed to the alloying elements, which include manganese, phosphorous, and silicon. Unfortunately, there is not much demand for this metal, and its prices tend to drop when economic conditions deteriorate.

Nickel and phosphorus are the rarest metallic elements, together with tungsten and selenium. Copper is the most abundant element of these precious metals. Most of them are used in electronic and electrochemical applications, although gold and platinum are the best for high-tech applications such as batteries and superconductors. They are also used in rocket motors and solar power panels.