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Precious Metals

What Are Precious Metals?

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These are crystals of pure gold metal, a well-known precious metal.

These are crystals of pure gold metal, a well-known precious metal.

Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License
Some metals are considered to be precious metals. Here's a look at what makes a metal precious plus a list of the precious metals.

What Makes a Metal a Precious Metal?

Precious metals are elemental metals that have high economic value. In some cases, the metals have been used as currency. In other cases, the metal is precious because it is valued and rare.

List of Precious Metals

The most widely known precious metals are corrosion-resistant metals that are used in jewelry, currency and as an investment.
  • gold
  • silver
  • platinum
Other metals of the platinum group also are considered precious.
  • ruthenium
  • rhodium
  • palladium
  • osmium
  • iridium
Sometimes copper is listed as a precious metal because it is used in currency and jewelry, but copper is plentiful and readily oxidizes in moist air, so it is not particularly common to see it considered "precious."

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