Precious metals

Pie chart, made of different metals - gold, silver, bronze, copper, lead

A precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.

Chemically, the precious metals tend to be less reactive than most elements (see noble metal). They are usually ductile and have a high lustre.

Historically, precious metals were important as currency but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities.

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code. The best-known precious metals are coinage metals, gold and silver.

Although both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewellery and coinage.

Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded. The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.

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