In the physical sense, precious metals only include gold, silver, and copper. The electronic band structure of the metals is used to classify them as noble metals: Precious metals have completely filled d-bands, which contribute little to reactivity and not at all to conductivity. For example, this does not apply to platinum; Classically, however, the platinum metals platinum, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, and palladium are also classed as noble metals. Even mercury is sometimes referred to as a precious metal; however, this is controversial since it is more reactive than the other precious metals in many ways.
Which precious metals are best suited for investment?
With the exception of mercury, all of the precious metals mentioned are suitable as investment metals. However, they offer different levels of development potential. Mercury is liquid at room temperature and also toxic, which is why it is not available in the typical bar and coin forms and is also not traded as an investment.
- The precious metals platinum, gold, silver and, to a lesser extent, copper are traded as investments.
- All precious metals are available in physical form as bars and coins (copper: bars and granules) and as securities (ETFs).
- Gold is primarily traded as an investment metal, other precious metals are needed and processed in many areas by technology and industry.
- The price development of gold as an investment metal is roughly countercyclical to the global economy, the price development of the remaining precious metals as industrial raw materials roughly reflects the economy.