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Precious Metals

The United States is the world's second largest gold producer, capable of meeting all of its domestic gold needs, while exporting 20% of its production.* (GoldInstitute.org)

Precious metals possess six innate attributes in a special combination that renders them unique in all of nature.

Beauty - Precious metals are used as jewelry, for table settings and in many other decorative ways.

Utility - They are used in a multitude of industrial and technological applications. Modern civilization as we know it today would not be possible if it were not for the existence of precious metals.

Rarity - Precious metals are extremely scarce relative to most other elements that occur in nature.

Indestructibility - Virtually all the gold mined and refined since the beginning of time still exists in some form.

Portability - Considerable value can be transported in a briefcase, suitcase, etc.

Inherent Value - The worth of precious metal is innate; that is, it doesn't represent something else that has value, as a stock or bond does. Precious metal is, in and of itself, naturally valuable.

No other elements known to man manifest all the characteristics in combination, and it is for this reason that mankind has always considered these metals precious.

Gold:

  • Gold is the most widely traded of the precious metals.
  • It is primarily a monetary metal used in coinage in many countries. National governments now hold more than 1/3 of all gold in existence as national reserves.
  • Because of its popularity as monetary metal, there are more forms of coins available in gold than any other type of precious metal.
  • As an industrial commodity, gold is used extensively in the manufacture of jewelry, and in electronics, dentistry and many other commercial and scientific applications.
  • On average four tons of raw ore are required to produce one ounce of pure gold.

Silver:

  • Silver is the least expensive precious metal.
  • Like gold, silver is a monetary metal used in coinage.
  • Silver is primarily an industrial metal used in electronics, dentistry, jewelry and photography.
  • One ton of raw ore is required to produce five ounces of silver.
  • Typically,silver is mined as a byproduct of copper mining.

Platinum:

  • Platinum is more scarce than gold or silver.
  • Platinum's (along with Palladium's)price tends to be the most volatile of the precious metals.
  • On average, approximately ten tons of raw ore are required to produce one ounce of pure platinum.
Palladium

  • It is also a "hi-tech" metal used in wide variety of industrial and production applications.
  • It is one of the most anticorrosive elements known.
  • Palladium-platinum alloys are used in 20% of the world's manufacturing process in some way.

The percentage of the metal's purity is referred to as its "fineness," which indicates the proportion of pure precious metal actually contained in the refined product. In gold refining, for example, the highest fineness for investment grade bullion products is .9999 fine, or 99.99% purity. For example, a one-ounce American Eagle gold bullion coin actually weighs 1.0909 troy ounces and since it is 91.67% pure, it contains exactly one ounce of pure gold and .0909 ounces of impurities. The one-ounce Canadian Maple Leaf gold bullion coin, on the other hand, is 99.99% pure and since it contains one ounce of pure gold, its total weight is exactly one troy ounce.

You can check the current price of silver, gold, paltinum and palladium by visiting the Fidelitrade web site @ http://fidelitrade.com

The calatytic converter in your car contains a few hundred dollars worth of platinum and palladium.

Twenty-five percent of all products in existence contain gold, silver, platinum or palladium. Without these metals, we could not have life as we know it.

 

Other resources

The Gold Companion
The Gold Institute