The rare metallic chemical elements (gold, silver, platinum, palladium, etc.) with high economic value are called precious metals. Precious metals are an investment instrument group that is in high demand with its registered and securitized form as well as being demanded in physical form. Precious metals, which are generally used in jewelry making, are also used in many areas of the industry. So do you know which are the most expensive precious metals?
The most expensive precious metals include platinum, palladium, gold, iridium, and rhodium. In addition to being used as jewelry, precious metals provide very good portfolio diversity and can be purchased to protect against inflation. It is the most preferred gold in this regard. Silver, platinum, and palladium are metals that can be added to your precious metal portfolio, and each has its own risks and opportunities.
Most Expensive Precious Metals: Platinum
Platinum is found in nature in a form that is extremely pure as well as rare. Platinum, which has a color code that can be described as White-Gray, is in the noble metals group such as silver, gold, and bronze. Although it is a pure metal, in essence, it is not always easy to find and extract in nature and separate from other metals. The most prominent feature of Platinum is that it is a very durable metal as well as having a very superior performance against corrosion.
Platinum has a unique chemical structure and physical properties. Due to the superior qualities of Platinum, it is an important metal that is frequently preferred in almost every industry branch. In addition to its use in industry, it is also an indispensable material for jewelry producers, thanks to its natural superiority due to its rare presence in nature and because it is more valuable than gold. 20% of watches and similar jewelry produced in the luxury segment are accepted as platinum and platinum-containing alloys.
Today, it is as valuable as a diamond and can be preferred because it does not have an allergenic structure. Products made using platinum are 30 times more durable than those made of gold. Since platinum accessories are denser and more stable than gold, they do not wear out and wear easily even after a long period of use. Platinum is heavier than 14K gold. It is due to the chemical and physical properties inherent in platinum, for example. A diamond, diamond, or any precious stone on a platinum ring is much more difficult to fall off than a gold ring.
Platinum has a very suitable structure for every person who cannot use jewelry and accessories, especially due to its allergenic nature. Platinum does not have an allergenic nature. Due to the aforementioned features of Platinum, it can be used in almost every branch of the industry today. It is a frequently preferred metal in the car industry, jewelry industry, or dental implants because it is allergenic and does not cause corrosion.
Platinum is among the most difficult metals in nature among precious metals. The majority of Platinum reserves in the world are located in southern Africa and Russia (90%). The leadership of South African countries is seen in the vast majority of exports. When compared to Silver and Gold, the reserves discovered around the world are much less than these two mines. Its production and supply are difficult. In order to get 1 decade of pure platinum in real terms, 8 tons of raw ore must be processed.
As a result of the unique properties of the metal, it is a metal that is used frequently especially in the field of technology today, and is demanded more by this sector day by day. Platinum is much more resistant to corrosion, ie rusting, than all metals known. This precious metal, which reaches a melting point of 3125 degrees Fahrenheit, is also known as a very powerful catalyst.
Platinum has become a mineral that is used more and more frequently in industrialization studies, as a result of its unique characteristics. If we give examples of the industries where platinum is the most preferred and demanded; Gasoline, LCD screens, glasses, cancer drugs, various paints, hard-discs, fiber optic cables, fertilizer industry, some explosives, and many different products can be listed. Another reason for the preference is that it is a very powerful catalyst in fuel cells. Statistics show that the Japanese people are the largest consumers of jewelry and products made from Platinum. The Japanese consume 48% of the products produced in the world.
One-third of Platinum produced worldwide is used to develop environmentally friendly systems. It is widely used to control harmful car emissions, especially in the automobile industry. Today, as a result of the rise of standards in North America, Asia, and Europe (for the production of more environmentally friendly vehicles) the relevant need has risen too much higher levels. Platinum catalysts are an important component for fuel cells and essential for effective power generation technology. (while generating electricity from water). Research shows that as our energy need increase, more will be needed for platinum in order to develop more environmentally sensitive systems.
Platinum, whose importance is becoming more and more popular in the jewelry industry, has started to be used by many well-known design companies thanks to its many features. Especially in the last 20 years, it has become more and more common. Especially the sensitivity of the Japanese about the use of platinum jewelry has accelerated the sector. However, thanks to new markets whose potential is only being discovered over the past few years, Platinum jewelry has reached more users. After Japan, the largest consumption began to be seen in North America and the People’s Republic of China.
Platinum jewelry is consumed intensively in these countries, and this consumption rate corresponds to 40% of the consumption in the world. Platinum jewelry, which has become increasingly trendy, has become a symbol of elegance in the fashion world and is also preferred due to its high degree of strength. Moreover, platinum is perhaps the most suitable environment to carry the added gemstones. As a matter of fact, it is very rare for the precious stones processed in the platinum mine to fall compared to other metals.
Although the history of Platinum in the watch industry is actually very old, it has not been preferred by watch designers and manufacturers for a long time because its features have not been known for many years. Major brands such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Tag Heuer, IWC, Rolex, and Breitling have started to prefer this metal for their luxury segment models. One of the biggest points that attracted watchmakers is that despite the highly durable and resistant structure of platinum, it does not cause darkening.
Most Expensive Precious Metals: Palladium
Palladium is a chemical element with the symbol “Pd” and atomic number 46 in the 5th and 6th periods of the periodic table. Palladium was discovered in 1803 by British chemist William Wollaston, who also discovered the element rhodium in the same year. Wollaston studied the residues of platinum after dissolution in aqua regia, a concentrated solution of hydrochloric and nitric acids. He then isolated palladium in a series of chemical reactions and eventually heated palladium cyanide to remove the palladium metal.
The story of Wollaston’s announcement of its discovery is strange. He left a piece to sell the new element he discovered to a mine dealer on Gerrard Street in London. He then took to the streets and distributed flyers with the properties of this new metal discovered. With this interesting method of posting, some doubts arose about the element. Richard Chevenix, the famous chemist of the period, did not accept the new discovery and explained the element as an alloy of platinum and mercury. In response, Wollaston announced that he would award anyone who could anonymously produce artificial palladium, but no one claimed this money.
In 1805, Wollaston spoke about the properties of palladium and how the element could be isolated from platinum before the Royal Society of London. Wollaston concluded his speech by introducing himself as the discoverer of the palladium. He explained why he remained anonymous for so long, stating that he had to have time to understand and explain all the properties of the metal before announcing its name. The element was named after the Pallas asteroid, which was recently discovered at that time. The asteroid is named after the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom.
If palladium is heated to 100 degrees, the amount of hydrogen it absorbs is twice the amount of hydrogen it absorbs at room temperature. Palladium can be made into sheets and does not pass any gas other than hydrogen. It is the only platinum group metal that can be soluble with nitric acid. When annealed, time can soften and stretch. Since it hardens in cold environments, it becomes difficult to process. It is not affected by water vapor and oxygen in the air in any way. It acts as a very good catalyst when it enters into chemical reactions.
Also, its electrical resistance is 7 times higher than silver. Various chemical methods are used to separate palladium from ores. This element, which is in pure form, is produced by reducing the mineral obtained from the ore deposit into a salty solution and then reducing it together with hydrogen. This element is much more difficult to reduce than copper, silver, and nickel.
Palladium is commonly used in catalytic converters found in automobiles. Converters are used in the exhaust outlets and reduce the gas emission rates of automobiles. It is also used to produce white gold. They become alloyed with the decolored gold and form white gold. It is a widely used method in some products instead of platinum. Since it is resistant to all conditions of the atmosphere, it is widely used in laboratory instruments and medical devices. It is an alloy widely used in medical products and dental treatment products. It is also used as an intermediate product on electrical relays as it is an abrasion-resistant metal.
When silver and copper alloys occur with palladium, these alloys increase mechanical resistance in metals. It is used as the starting material in nickel-plated products and is a very important alternative to these coatings. It is widely used on some telephone parts known as palladium salt and on electronic materials. Palladium acts as a catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells. It is also an effective metal used to filter and store hydrogen. It has provided tremendous benefits in the manufacturing of nanotechnology products that have recently been introduced to the market.
Today palladium metal, its alloys, and salts are used in many fields such as dental prostheses, surgical instruments, photography, electrical contacts, watch parts, capacitors, electrical resistors, computer parts, auto parts, mobile phones, electronic devices, catalytic converters, jewelry, glass, new generation televisions, and petroleum products. Also, Palladium is a valuable investment market product. It is considered the most valuable commodity traded in the markets after gold and platinum products in the world.
A number of metal bars and coins made of palladium are also produced today. It serves as a catalyst to convert pollutant hydrocarbons in automobile catalytic converters, often in combination with rhodium. It acts as an excellent catalyst and helps turn some of the pollutant compounds exported as part of the internal combustion engine into less harmful components.
These compounds are extremely harmful to humans and the environment, such as hydrocarbons and nitrogen. It has been subject to strict regulations in recent years. For years platinum was the metal of choice for producers, but as prices soared, they turned to palladium as a viable alternative.
Most Expensive Precious Metals: Gold
Gold is a soft, bright, and yellow-colored heavy element with a high density of 19.3 g / cm3, with atomic number 79 and mass weight 197, indicated by the symbol Au on the periodic table. Gold begins to melt at 1064 ° C and reaches a boiling temperature of 2856 ° C. It takes its name from the Latin word Aurum (shining). Due to its resistance to acids, being free in nature and easy processing, gold has attracted the attention of mankind since ancient times and has taken its place among the most precious metals.
Gold is a very stable element that does not react easily. It is not affected by air and water contact. Therefore, it never rusts, tarnishes, and dulls. In its pure form it is very soft, can be easily hammered and formed into wire and sheet. Minerals have a cubic crystal structure. It has +1 and +3 valence in its compounds. It can be easily reduced to the metallic form of all its compounds. The +1 valence compounds of gold such as AuCl, Au2S, AuCN are unstable in aqueous solutions and are oxidized to +3 or reduced to metallic.
However, aqueous solutions of the complex salts given with sodium cyanide (NaCN) and potassium cyanide (KCN) can be prepared and used in industry, especially in gold plating. The purity of gold in the chemical field is expressed in terms of percentage and the purity in the jewelry industry in carats. Accordingly, 24-carat gold represents 100% pure gold, 22-carat gold represents 91.6% pure gold, 18-carat gold contains 75%, and 14-carat gold contains 58.5% gold.
Different colored alloys are obtained by adding different metals to gold. For example; The addition of silver gives green, nickel, and platinum addition white, zinc addition yellow and copper addition gives colors varying from yellow to red depending on the amount. 100% pure gold is not found in nature, the purest gold is 999.9 per thousand pure. Rare and valuable gold is a very important mine for the economies and financial markets of the country. Throughout history, gold ownership has been an indicator of wealth and power. In this case, being a gold producer and owning resources has meant a strategic and economic power factor for countries.
While a 24-carat definition is made for pure gold, there is no 100% pure gold in nature. Therefore, you should know that it is 99.99% or 99.95% pure for pure gold. Another concept that you will hear about in jewelry arises at this stage. The expression per thousand is used for pure gold that defines the ratio of the amount of gold in the alloy per thousand. So pure gold is 999.99 or 999.95 million. 22-carat gold is 916 million and 91.6 percent pure. It is usually used in bracelet making and is soft. 14-carat gold is the hardest and is 75 percent pure. Almost all of the jewelry seen in jewelers are made of 14-carat gold.
It is estimated that gold accounts for one million per thousand of the earth. In general, quartz rocks contain drops of gold. It is also possible to find gold in volcanic quartz, the earth’s crust at the bottom of the sea, and the earth. Gold prospecting techniques today; It is carried out in 3 ways as remote, above ground, and underground. All of these stages are complementary to each other and are therefore used together. In order for gold to be found in nature, firstly, the target areas are determined by remote sensing. For this, rocks, fault lines, and belts that may contain ore on the earth are marked with satellite photos. Then the above-ground searches are started. It is very important to determine the target areas for the success of surface searches. Geochemical sampling is also made to narrow the targets. For this process; Stream sand, soil, rock, water, and plant samples are taken. At the same time, the type of mineralization in the region is analyzed.
After surface searches, underground searches are started and the target area is checked by drilling. With this stage, ore structure, grade, and amount are determined. At this stage, it is revealed whether there is a gold mine or not. If the mineral gold deposit is found, the extraction process is started using open or closed quarry methods. The method to be extracted varies according to the structure, depth, distribution, and grade of the ore. The deposits with mineralization in the form of veins and containing approximately 10 grams of gold per 1 ton are extracted by the closed-pit method. The open-hearth method is preferred for low grade and scattered beds. In addition, if the gold grains in the rock are visible, it is enriched by the gravimetric method without using cyanide. If it is not visible, cyanide is compulsory.
The gold-containing ores are pulped in the fragments grinding mills. The gold grains in the dough obtained are scattered. Gold is separated here. The concentrate of the dough to which this process is applied is increased and it is provided to be processed with dilute sodium cyanide solution. Thus, gold and sodium cyanide react and become a compound. The gold in the compound is allowed to settle and all substances except gold and silver are removed from the precipitate. Silver, on the other hand, dissolves with the interaction of nitric acid and sulfuric acid and remains gold.
Another point to be known is that gold ores are not found alone. The gold ore, which is dispersed among the supporters, is dissolved by cyanide leaching. Meanwhile, the gold ions that pass into the solution are absorbed on the activated carbon and stripped from the solution. The gold ions formed in this way are converted into solid form by the method called electron gain. The gold converted into a solid form is melted again and poured into molds called an ingot. As a result, gold bullion is produced. In the past, it was used directly as money and this use continued for centuries. In the last centuries, the paper was used to increase the value of money, but the use of gold in this area has come to an end. Gold, which is no longer used as money in daily life, has become purchased with money.
Most Expensive Precious Metals: Iridium
Iridium is one of the durable and very hard metals among the platinum group metals. There is a thin layer of iridium in the earth’s crust. Iridium is the element with the highest corrosion resistance among the metals discovered. Naturally, it is a metal that is popular with many products due to this feature. Iridium alloys were preferred for the nibs of fountain pens, which were widely used at the time of its discovery. In the following years, its popularity increased as its features were discovered. Iridium satellites are not, as you know, satellites made of iridium. There is a very interesting reason why some communication satellites are given this name. Never touch the radioactive form of iridium or stay near it!
Iridium, one of the most expensive metals in the world, is the first precious metal after rhodium. In other words, the second precious metal of the world is iridium, it is more expensive than gold, platinum. Iridium, one of the transition elements, is represented by the symbol “Ir” on the periodic table. Iridium is among the precious metals. Iridium with an atomic number of 77 exists in a solid-state in nature. The iridium color, which has a very hard and brittle structure, is metallic white. Its color can also be called silvery white.
Iridium from the platinum family is defined as the second element with the highest density. It shows great resistance to corrosion even at a temperature of 2 thousand degrees Celsius. Some salts and halogens, which are liquefied (melted) in solid-state, can erode iridium in blocks. Iridium, which is split and pulverized, can be more reactive and more flammable. The annual production and consumption of iridium, one of the most precious metals in the world, is only 3 tons. Therefore, it is used in special scientific and industrial applications.
Iridium is found in a high proportion in the structure of asteroids. It is abundant in places where asteroids hit the earth, but rarely on other surfaces. Iridium CAS number is 7439-88-5, Iridium symbol is used as “ir” or “IR”. Iridium kg price is around 50 thousand dollars as of 2020. Iridium was discovered in London by Smithson Tennant in 1803. Tennant obtained iridium together with osmium during his work on the insoluble platinum metal, which was brought from South America.
It was obtained by combining osmium pieces with hydrochloric and nitric acid (aqua regia). Tennant noticed that most of the platinum ore melts in the king’s water, leaving a small amount of black powder. Other chemists who obtained this powder did not need to examine it; however, Tennant began to examine this black powder. He found that it showed very different properties from platinum. He named the new element he discovered “iridium”. It is stated that other chemists discovered iridium in 1803 when it was discovered. These chemists are H.V. Collet-Descotils, A.F. Fourcory, and N.L. Vauguelin. There is some information that these chemists also discovered that the acid-insoluble residues of platinum ore discovered iridium. However, Smithson Tennant is included in the scientific world records as the discoverer of iridium.
Iridium is widely used in special industrial applications and scientific studies. Iridium, which comes to Earth from meteorites, is used to detect whether any matter came from space. Platinum alloys contain around 10 percent iridium. When 50 percent iridium is added to the platinum, a material 10 times more durable than pure platinum is obtained. It gives hardness and durability to other alloys it is used to. It is also used in the construction of durable chemical tools. It can be used as a gamma-ray source due to its radioactive feature.
The radioactive isotope Ir-192 is used in imaging systems such as x-ray devices. Iridium spark plugs to power the engines are used due to their high ignition performance. These types of spark plugs are especially used in aircraft engines. The iridium used in optical lenses reduces glare. Some of the products using iridium, its compounds, and alloys are; spark plugs, compass, electrical contacts, pen tips, electrical systems, jewelry and jewelry, ingot mold alloys, measuring instruments, high-temperature crucibles, electrical contacts, mobile phones, surgical instruments.
Most Expensive Precious Metals: Rhodium
Rhodium means “rose” in Greek and is one of the most expensive metals in the world. Its extremely high reflectance rate is a thousand times higher than gold. Rhodium is one of the world’s most expensive metals in the platinum group. The six platinum groups, consisting of platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, and ruthenium, are among the metals. It is used especially for expensive jewelry because of its high reflection and brightness rate.
Since it is not affected by air, it gives brightness by coating on metals. It is an extremely resistant metal against acids, corrosion, and various atmospheric conditions. It reduces the effects of harmful emissions of exhaust gases. It is a very valuable metal that is difficult to process, rare, and has interesting properties. The most important uses of rhodium are in alloys, the automotive industry, and the jewelry industry.
It acts as a catalyst in platinum and palladium alloys, it provides the hardening of these two metals and provides resistance against corrosion. It increases the reflection of the surface of platinum and white gold and gives brightness. It acts as a catalyst converter in engines in the automotive industry. It minimizes harmful emission rates by converting carbon monoxide and other toxic exhaust gases from the engine into catalytic converters. Approximately 90 percent of the rhodium produced is used in catalytic converters.
It is also one of the expensive metals in the jewelry industry. It is an important catalyst used in the industry. Rhodium characteristically generates x-ray rays. For this reason, it is a metal that can be used in mammography systems. It can also be used in nuclear operations. In addition, rhodium alloys are used in the production of durable crucibles made of porcelain or various metals resistant to high temperatures used in chemical laboratories. The international temperature scale thermocouple (thermocouple), which is a type of temperature sensor, is produced from an alloy containing 90 percent platinum and 10 percent rhodium.
Some products and areas in which rhodium, its alloys, and compounds are used are; electrical contacts, optical instruments, optical fibers and mirrors, jewelry and jewelry, ornaments, watches, catalytic systems, pens, hard alloys, coatings, medical devices, electronic instruments, and parts of devices. It was discovered in London in 1803 by the British chemist and physicist William Hyde Wollaston during his investigations of an unprocessed platinum ore he obtained from Peru.
Wollaston predicted that the unidentified red color in platinum salts indicated different metals. He then neutralized the platinum ore by dissolving it with acid, a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid (aqua regia). It then precipitated out by adding platinum, like ammonium chloroplatinate, to ammonium chloride. Following this process, red-colored rhodium chloride appeared. Wollaston also discovered palladium, one of the platinum group metals, during his exploration of rhodium.
In the 1930s, rhodium was used as a coating in silver kitchenware by the electroplating method. The use of rhodium started to increase especially in the jewelry industry after the Second World War. Due to the advances in technology in the last 40 years, rhodium is used in coating applications as a thinner layer.
Rhodium can be obtained from complex ore with metals such as platinum, palladium, gold, and silver by various chemical processes. It is a rare metal found in 1 to 5 percent of natural platinum alloys. It is also a by-product in platinum production as white inert metal. It is also a by-product of nickel or copper production. It can also be a product of Uranium-235 nuclear fission waste. However, it is difficult and expensive to obtain from nuclear waste.
Rhodium, a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, called “Royal Water” (aqua regia), is slightly soluble in strong acid. It is insoluble in nitric acid. Powdered rhodium is soluble only in concentrated sulfuric acid. Affected by molten peroxide, alkali cyanide and sulfates, and gaseous fluorine. It does not usually form an oxide under normal conditions. May form oxide at high temperatures.
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