Precious metals are naturally occurring metals that are relatively rare and more difficult to find than other types of metals. The rarity of precious metals has traditionally given them a high economic value throughout history. Today, precious metals are valued for their use as investments, art and jewellery.
Gold—Gold is probably the best known of the precious metals, and has been revered as a metal of high value and a standard form of currency throughout human history. It has also been used in decoration. Gold exists mostly underground, and is being mined at a rate faster than it can be replaced, making it a metal in high demand. The shiny yellow metal is used in a variety of industries today, from jewellery to electronics to medicine, to engineering.
Silver—While gold has traditionally been valued much higher than silver due to its high luster and malleability, silver is a valued metal because of its use in various industries and its similar beautiful properties. Like gold, silver has been used throughout human history as currency and as decoration, and is used in some of the same industries today that use gold, such as electronics and technology.
Palladium—Palladium is a very rare metal, indeed. It was only discovered in 1803, so it doesn’t have a use going back through human history as do gold and silver. It main uses are industrial, particularly in the automotive industry. It is also used in medicine and electronics.
Platinum—Platinum is one of the most valuable of metals because it is so rare. So difficult is it to find that only a few hundred tons of it are mined annually. Its first known use was among pre-Columbian South Americans in the 16th century, when they used it for making jewellery. Today, platinum is used in the automotive, electronic, medical, and jewellery industries. It is highly resistant to corrosion, which makes it not only a precious metal, but a noble metal, as well.