From an investment standpoint, a list of precious metals can help investors narrow down their options when it comes to choosing the right vehicle for them. While there are nearly a dozen precious metals, the most commonly traded are gold, silver and platinum. Other precious metals that are not heavily traded are ruthenium, palladium and iridium. These precious metals differ from industry metals because they keep their value historically at much higher prices than more common metals. Precious metal dealers are located worldwide and various ETFs (exchange traded fund) constantly update the latest market prices.
The top precious metal is gold, one of the most valuable substances on earth. It is extremely malleable can be formed into a variety of items, from jewelry to ingots and coins. It conducts both heat and electricity extremely well and does not easily corrode. For centuries, gold has backed up a number of world currencies and even been used as currency itself in the form of coins.
Used for centuries to make jewelry, utensils, coins and even mirrors, silver is a strong, shiny precious metal that is a solid investment. Its high level of ductility makes it especially valuable in science and industry applications as well, such as photography, soldering, electrical contact and dentistry. Silver will tarnish if allowed to oxidize, and it can be mixed with other metals to increase hardness. Although silver is priced much lower than gold, it is still higher than most industry metals.
Platinum is used in products from jewelry and dentistry to lab equipment and thermometers. This precious metal is silver-white and resists tarnishing, unlike silver. Platinum does resemble silver but is priced more like gold. In fact, platinum is generally considered one of the most rare and precious of the precious metals. The price for platinum varies and is known for fluctuating since it has many industry uses. In popular culture, platinum has come to represent a standard even higher than gold, such as a platinum credit card account.
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act, enacted in 2000, was an attempt to define what a commodity was as it related to trading and futures investing. However, this act had some long-term effects that continue to reverberate throughout the market.