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A precious metal is defined as a rare chemical element that occurs naturally and has high economic value. Gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium are a few of the most popular precious metals that are used for similar purposes, although there are significant differences in their economic value. These metals are used most frequently as investments, merchandise and for medical and dental equipment. At Top Ten Reviews, we researched these precious metals to learn the differences between them and what makes their respective market values differ so greatly.

Gold

Gold is one of the most sought-after and desirable precious metals. Gold is a chemical element that is soft, malleable and durable. This metal is a good conductor of both heat and electricity and is found most often in jewelry, coins, dental work and some merchandise.

Gold is often mixed with additional elements to create an alloy. This process makes the metal tougher and much more useful for making jewelry and other commodities. When a piece of gold is an alloy, its most significant metric is known as a karat. Karats indicate the ratio of pure gold within an alloy. If a piece of gold is 24 karats, this means that the item is 100-percent pure gold. If the gold is 18 karats, it means that it is 18 parts gold and six parts other metals.

Many individuals are often upset when they sell their gold for much smaller amounts than they expected to earn. When you sell your gold, the gold buyers will melt down the gold and weigh it to find out how much pure gold it contains. The price they pay you is based upon the amount of pure gold.

Over the centuries, the price of gold has varied greatly. During the past decade, the price has greatly increased, making gold one of the most sought-after precious metals for investment purposes.

Silver

Silver is a white and shiny metal. Of all the precious metals, it conducts heat and electricity best. It is malleable and ductile, although it is harder than gold. It is most frequently used in jewelry, silverware, electrical items, musical instruments and other merchandise.

The value of silver differs depending upon the current state of the economy. However, its value has steadily increased for nearly a century, although it is worth less than gold.

Platinum

Platinum is one of the rarest precious metals. It is white in appearance and looks similar to silver. It is very strong and durable and is resistant to corrosion and oxidization. Because of its rare traits, it is frequently used in catalytic converters, jewelry, medical equipment and dental equipment.

The value of platinum also differs depending upon the current state of the economy. If the economy is good, the price of platinum can be very high; however, if the economy is struggling, it can significantly decrease in value.

Palladium

Palladium is a precious metal that is part of the platinum family. It has many of the same characteristics as platinum; it has a similar appearance but is soft and ductile. However, it is the least dense of these five precious metals and has the lowest melting point of all the platinum metals. Additionally, because palladium is similar to platinum, it is used in many of the same items, such as catalytic converters and jewelry. It is also found in many electronics and other forms of technology.

The vast majority of palladium comes from Russia, which consequently means that Russia has the most control over the value of palladium. The price of this precious metal increases and decreases greatly, though there is no economic pattern that affects its value like there is with silver and gold.

Rhodium

Rhodium is another member of the platinum family. Once again, its appearance is very similar to platinum and it shares many characteristics, including its rarity. Rhodium resists corrosion, making it a highly desired metal that is used in jewelry and the medical industry. However, its main use is in catalytic converters.

Because Rhodium is a rare metal, it is worth much more than gold. However, because it is used mainly in automobiles, its price has declined, although its rarity maintains its value.

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