For years, gold has been regarded as one of the most expensive precious metals in the world, but that assumption was inaccurate. Gold is high on the list of costly metals, but there is other a myriad of minerals that beat its price and value to rank higher on the scale.
The price of precious metals depends on properties, rarity, application areas, and market demand. If the demand for that particular metal is always high, other influences are politics, economic status, and technological advancement.
What’s the most expensive metal in the world? Our experts weigh in on the list below.
Some of the rarest and most valuable metals are traded daily in markets worldwide, and prices fluctuate continually. There are a few metals that monopolize the list, but each competes for the top spot as significant events occur or technologies change globally. The rating depends heavily on the metal’s demand and price per kilogram, for example.
So, what’s the most expensive metal? Here are the top five contenders:
An extremely rare metal from the platinum group, rhodium is a prized metal in any market. Rhodium is found in minuscule quantities—the entire earth only contains about 0.001g—and it remains in high demand globally. It is resistant to corrosion, exceedingly reflective, and sports a high melting point of 3,567 degrees F (1,964 degrees C).
The most famous rhodium mines are in Canada, the United States, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, and Finland. Its scarcity and wide-ranging applications buoy its value considerably in any context. Rhodium costs more than $400,000 per kilogram (four times that of gold and ten times more than platinum).
The metal’s primary use is in catalytic converters, designed to clean up vehicle emissions. Together with platinum and palladium, rhodium reduces nitrogen oxide and filters the air. Without rhodium catalysts solutions, the air we breathe would be much more polluted with vehicle emissions, and that isn’t its only superpower.
Rhodium is also resistant to blots, finding use in mirrors, searchlights, and jewelry production. Chemists and scientists use it to make acetic acid, nitric acid, and hydrogenation reactions.
As an investment option, this precious metal wasn’t available until 2009. Now, anyone who is interested in speculating in metals may easily invest in rhodium. The increasing interest in new technology within the automobile industry means rhodium might be a decent prospect for upcoming market trends.
The second most expensive metal on the market is palladium—around thirty times rarer than platinum and gold, which makes it more expensive and far more valuable.
Palladium is the main component in pollution-control solutions for vehicles. About 85% of it ends up in the exhaust systems of automobiles and trucks, turning otherwise toxic pollutants into water vapor and carbon dioxide.
Palladium usage increases annually, especially since China decided to tighten regulations and minimize their emissions. The shift forced car manufacturers to increase the amount of palladium and other precious metals needed to meet these standards. However, a threat to this trend is the increased production of electric cars (vehicles that aren’t using catalytic converters).
The major producers of palladium are Russia, the United States, South Africa, and Canada. The Russian company Nornickel is at the top of current palladium production, mining more than 86 metric tons a year.
Palladium costs more than $73,962 per kilogram. Like rhodium and gold, it is considered an attractive investment option and a safe choice in any climate. It also finds use in the jewelry and electronic industries.
Gold takes the third position for its price per kilogram and inherent value as a haven in economic upheaval. Due to its flexibility, durability, and demand, gold is the most attractive metal, despite not being the rarest.
Gold has exhibited several characteristics that made it valuable throughout the centuries. It is appealing, bright, durable, and found in nature in its pure form.
The main advantage of gold is its perceived value. From the earliest appearance, its price has always been reliable enough to be used as a currency in several countries; and a sign of power. While its primary applications are in trade and jewelry, it also finds use in medical implants, aerospace equipment, and electronics.
Gold is visually appealing and workable and resistant to tarnishing and corrosion. Examples of gold workmanship survive from ancient times (in Assyria, Egypt, and Minoa), and it gives it a reputation of beauty and durability that is unrivaled. These properties make gold highly favored for jewelry design and decorative objects.
Today, gold costs more than $60,000 per kg and is one of the most popular investment options. Its price fluctuates with the US dollar as investors turn to precious metals in challenging economic times. As always, gold remains an excellent solution against devaluation.
Although platinum is one of the most valuable and expensive metals on the market, that wasn’t always the case. Before this metal’s features and characteristics became evident, platinum was considered the equivalent to a low-quality silver. It was only used in the jewelry industry to produce cheap necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Its position has since risen dramatically, however.
Platinum is a rare, stable, and dense metal, finding use in the jewelry, medical, and electronic industries due to numerous useful physical and chemical properties. Compared to other precious metals, it is one of the densest elements and extremely stable, with excellent tarnishing and corrosion-resistant features.
The top platinum producers are South Africa, Russia, Canada, Zimbabwe, and the United States. Not all of it is produced from a primary source because it is one of the rarest precious metals. According to the United States Geological Survey, around 30% of the eight million ounces of platinum produced in 2012 was recycled.
The largest use (around 40% of the demand) is in jewelry design, in an alloy to produce white gold. More than 40% of the wedding rings sold in the US contain platinum. Its high-temperature stability and corrosion resistance make it an excellent catalyst in numerous chemical reactions.
While it commands a smaller market than palladium or gold, investment continues to expand. Platinum costs $28,200 per kg, and during periods of economic stability, its price may soar to twice that of gold.
During economic uncertainty, platinum’s price decreases below gold’s, however.
The fifth contender for most expensive metal is silver, which shares the same history as its counterpart, gold. It is a safe investment that retains its value regardless of the political or economic climate. Silver is also more available in its pure form than gold, making it much cheaper.
Of all the precious metals, silver is the best conductor of electricity and heat. Historically, it was used in the production of coins, but the demand for silver grew considerably in the last century for its use in photographic technology.
Today, silver is popular in the production of digital cameras, rockets, nuclear devices, medicine, solar panels, and computers. It has useful properties for inhibiting bacteria spread and odors.
Silver contains antimicrobial properties, which is why small particles of silver are often woven into clothing to prevent bacteria accumulation. Unlike gold and other metals, silver is also present in natural minerals, like copper ore, lead ore, and cobalt arsenide ore. Most silver alloys are a combination of these minerals.
Silver costs around $700 per kilogram. It is considered one of the most attractive investment options currently on the market.
You may still be wondering, “What’s the most expensive metal?” All five metals we’ve explored are popular investment options due to stability and demand, but it’s still almost impossible to give a straight answer about price, value, and returns in rhodium, palladium, gold, platinum, and silver.
Each substance maintains its value better than currencies in uncertain times, but prices still fluctuate wildly during economic instability and other upheavals. Industrial use and supply issues also affect the demand, and it can be a significant challenge working out how to trade these metals to your advantage.
When you’re ready to invest in a reputable provider or investment agency, be wise in how you trade gold, silver, and other metals. First, you will need to choose between bars, coins, and other investments.
Investing in metal bars is an excellent way to access the market. It also comes in numerous sizes, including 400-troy ounce, 100-troy ounce, or 1kg bars. The standard size for silver bars is 1,000 troy ounces, and for palladium and platinum, it is between one and six kilograms.
Direct investment is also served well by coins. For example, many countries mint silver and gold coins, and some private agencies and markets support this holding.
Another popular option to invest in metals is through an exchange or mutual fund. Participants place assets for the fund to invest in different metals, and management charges a fee for the service.
Now that you know more about the world’s most expensive metals and how to trade or invest in these natural resources, you may be interested in exploring the best choice to secure your financial future.
Whether you are interested in adding silver or gold to your retirement fund or taking delivery of metals, we have a viable solution. If you want to learn about how to protect your wealth, contact the professionals at Oxford Gold Group today.
INSIDE THIS INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU WILL LEARN:
• How Gold & Silver can protect your savings & retirement accounts
• Types of Gold & Silver products available for Home Delivery
• How a Gold & Silver IRA can protect your Retirement account