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The World’s 10 Most Expensive Precious Metals

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The World's 10 Most Expensive Precious Metals

1. Rhodium

The title of the most expensive precious metal in the world goes to Rhodium.

This precious metal is extremely rare and can be best described as a silver-white, hard, corrosion-resistant inert transition metal.

Rhodium is a member of the platinum group and a noble metal. It was first discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803 and appropriately named due to the rose color of one of its chlorine compounds.

It can be found in platinum or nickel ores alongside other precious metals of the platinum group.

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Just like the second most expensive precious metal in the world, Palladium, around 80% of the world’s Rhodium is used as one of the catalysts in a three-way catalyst converter in automobiles.

As of 2020, the current price per gram of Rhodium is $260.42, which cements it as the most expensive precious metal in the world!

2. Palladium

The Second most expensive precious metal in the world is Palladium.

Palladium is a chemical element identified by the symbol Pd and its atomic number 46.

Discovered in 1803 by English Chemist William Hyde Wollaston, Palladium was named after the asteroid Pallas.

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It’s part of the Platinum Group along with Platinum, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Iridium, and Osmium, which all have similar chemical properties, however, Palladium has the lowest melting point and is the least dense of them all.

3. Gold

The third most expensive precious metal in the world is gold.

This precious metal needs no introduction as it’s arguably the most commonly known metal in the world.

In its purest form, gold can is a bright yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal and is one of the least reactive chemical elements on earth.

Gold is often found in its free elemental native form, nuggets or grains in rocks, veins, and alluvial deposits.

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It’s still considered to be relatively rare, hence the price tag, and has often been used throughout history for coinage, jewelry, and arts.

China still produces the largest amount of gold, with an estimated 440 tones per year.

The price of gold per gram, as it currently stands, is approximately $53.95.

4. Ruthenium

Coming in at number four on our list of the most expensive precious metals is Ruthenium.

Ruthenium is a chemical element that can be identified by the symbol Ru and atomic number 44.

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Belonging to the Platinum group; Ruthenium is a rare transition metal that was discovered by Russian-born scientist, Karl Ernst Claus, in 1844 at Kazan State University.

He named the element Ruthenium in honor of Russia, as Ruthenia is Latin for Rus’.

Ruthenium is most commonly found in ores with other platinum group metals in the mountains of North and South America. It is widely used in several electronics devices and equipment.

As of today, Ruthenium costs approximately $260 per ounce.

5. Iridium

Iridium is a hard silvery-white transition metal that is considered to be the second densest metal on earth.

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It is the most corrosion-resistant metal and can be found in abundance in meteorites and the earth’s crust.

Iridium was discovered in 1803 by Smithson Tennant, who named the precious metal after the Greek goddess Iris because its striking salts resembled all the colors of the rainbow.

South Africa produces the most significant quantities of this metal, which it exports to countries around the world to be used in various products such as watches and compasses, and all different parts in the automotive industry.

Iridiums current price is around $520 per ounce.

6. Osmium

Osmium is a hard bluish-white transition metal in the platinum group that can be found as a trace element in alloys and Platinum ores.

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It’s the densest naturally occurring element and is commonly used to make fountain-pen nib tipping and electrical contacts.

It’s also one of the rarest elements on the planet, which is why it demands such a high price.

Per troy ounce, you’re looking at paying around $400, which has been pretty consistent since the 1990s but can fluctuate a little depending on the market.

7. Rhenium

Rhenium is considered to be one of the rarest metals in the earth’s crust and has the third-highest melting point and second-highest boiling point of any stable element.

It can be identified using its chemical element symbol, Re, and atomic number 75.

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Rhenium was discovered in 1908 and named after the Rhine river in Europe. It was also the second-last stable element to be found, just before hafnium.

This precious metal is often used for Nickel-based superalloys in combustion chambers, turbine blades, and exhaust nozzles of jet engines.

Rhenium costs in the region of $1,290 per troy ounce at this current moment in time.

8. Silver

Coming in at number 8 on our list of precious metals is one of the most well known and common metals on the planet, silver.

Its chemical element symbol is Ag, and its atomic number is 47.

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Silver exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal known to man.

It can be found in the earth’s crust in its purest elemental form as an alloy with gold and other precious metals, and, in minerals like Chlorargyrite and argentite. However, most of the world’s silver is produced as a by-product of gold, lead, copper, and zinc refining.

As silver has long been considered a precious metal, it’s been used in several different ways, like in the manufacturing of bullion coins and other non-currency related mediums like solar panels, water filtration systems, and jewelry.

The current approximate price per gram of silver is $0.48 per gram.

9. Scandium

The next most expensive precious metal in the world is Scandium.

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This chemical element can be identified using its symbol, Sc, or atomic number 21.A.

Scandium was first discovered in Scandinavia in 1879 by spectral analysis of the minerals euxenite and gadolinite. Credit was given to Swedish Scientist, Lars Nilsson, who appropriately named it after Scandinavia.

It’s a silvery-white metallic color and has been historically classified as a rare-earth element.

It can be found in most of the deposits of rare-earth and uranium compounds but is only extracted from certain ores in a few mines around the world.

One gram of Scandium acetate is valued at $44.

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10. Indium

Indium is a soft white-silvery chemical element that can be identified by its symbol, In, and its atomic number 49.

Apart from Alkali, Indium is the softest metal on the planet and is a post-transition metal that accounts for approximately 0.21 parts per million of the earth’s crust.

Indium can be melted down into liquid form at a higher melting point than sodium and gallium, but just a little bit under Lithium and tin.

It was first discovered in 1863 by Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymous Theodor Ritcher using Spectroscopic methods. They named it Indium due to the indigo blue line in its spectrum.

Indium is most commonly used in the semiconductor industry for goods like alloys, solders, and soft-metal high vacuum seals.

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Indium costs around $1 – $5 per gram depending on purity and quantity.

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