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The 10 Most Expensive Precious Metals In The World

Jenna Gleespen - September 09, 2021

Precious metals are rare and expensive metals that have practical uses, but some have more value than others, especially as an investment.

What are the most expensive precious metals? Keep reading to find out.

Similar to precious stones or hard stones, a precious metal’s value is largely determined by its rarity and how difficult it is to obtain or process.

Some of the most well-known metals include gold, silver, platinum, rhodium, palladium, and iridium.

If you want to learn more about precious metals, our guide on the top 10 most expensive precious metals will tell you everything you need to know.

most expensive precious metals

What Are Precious Metals?

Precious metals can be found in different shapes and forms depending on the physical and chemical conditions they developed in.

The richness of their beauty and purity make them desirable to people who want to collect these precious metals — a hobby called mineralogy.

They have been used as essential trade goods across the globe since the beginning of human history.

The word precious usually means something rare, valuable, or desirable because it has qualities that make it aesthetically pleasing.

Different cultures assign varying values to certain precious metals.

Some cultures, for example, value gold as a way of showing wealth, while others value silver to demonstrate their connections with the sea.

Continue reading for more information on each precious metal on our list.

What Are the Most Expensive Precious Metals in the World?

Before we dive into the most precious metals, let’s take a look at the market itself.

The precious metals market is full of volatile prices that are influenced by global economic changes.

  • The price of gold fluctuates from $1,350 to $1,715 per troy ounce every day.
  • Silver can go up and down from $14.25 to $15 per troy ounce.
  • Platinum can be found at a price range of $1302 to 1504 per troy ounce.
  • One of the most expensive precious metals is gold, and it costs $42.3 per troy ounce.

Many precious metals on our list are growing in value due to increased demand.

One reason for their high demand is that these metals are resistant to corrosion and oxidation, which makes them durable for industrial use.

There are many ways to invest in precious metals: you can buy from a company that sells them or purchase shares in the companies that produce them.

10. Indium (In)

Indium is a chemical element and is the third most abundant metal of the precious metals on our list.

This precious metal has been used in lasers and semiconductor devices because it emits little light but can conduct electricity very well, making it useful for electronics.

most expensive precious metals
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People can use it for various applications, like electronics, solar panels, etc.

You can find it in mines all over the world.

The element occurs naturally only in trace quantities as an impurity, usually indium sulfide or indium nitride are grayish-black solid materials.

One of the biggest mines of indium was located 10km from Listening Hills in Australia.

Indium has an estimated rarity of about one part in 10 million.

How Much Does Indium Cost Per Gram?

Indium costs about $1 to $5 per gram.

9). Scandium (Sc)

Scandium is a chemical element that has no stable isotopes, and you can obtain it through nuclear fission and fusion processes.

It has been used in the aerospace and automotive industry for decades and is widely used in cell phones and smartphones.

most expensive precious metals

Scandium is a precious metal mined from the earth’s most abundant uranium deposits that are found primarily in Norway, Russia, China, U.S., and Kazakhstan.

Through mining and refining, it can attain a purity of 99.99%.

Scandium is never found in nature, but it can be made by bombarding a target composed of scandium-releasing radioactive material with neutrons.

Scandium is mined in Russia and Australia, and there are also mining operations in China, Kazakhstan, Canada, and Uzbekistan.

How Much Does Scandium Cost Per Gram?

Scandium costs about $270 per gram.

8. Silver (Ag)

Silver is a metal with a unique chemical composition.

Silver mining was first discovered by humans around 6000 BC when they started using it to make jewelry and utensils such as cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, and spoons.

It has the highest electrical conductivity of metal and yet is not a conductor of heat or electricity.

This makes it a better choice for electronics.

Silver is also an excellent choice for use in jewelry because it doesn’t tarnish or corrode.

most expensive precious metals

It can be found in many places around the world and has been mined since ancient times as one of the most sought-after metals on earth.

In China, silver accounts for almost 70% of their total output, while in Peru it’s almost 60%.

In the U.S., silver comes from Nevada and Alaska.

This precious metal occurs naturally in its pure form and can also be found in rocks, water, and air.

One of the most popular silver mining areas was at Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic.

Silver is a metal that is extracted from its ore from the earth.

How Much Does Silver Cost Per Gram?

Silver costs about $0.80 per gram.

7. Rhenium (Re)

Rhenium is one of the rarest metals in the world, and it’s often found in the form of a black powder.

People use it in alloys to make superalloys.

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Rhenium metal is said to have the highest melting point of any metal, and it’s also used in catalytic converters on automobiles.

Rhenium is mined in Africa and China.

Rhenium is also mined in the American territory of Iowa and is found in open-pit mines called Iowa Mines.

It is an element about as abundant as iron but more expensive and difficult to extract.

How Much Does Rhenium Cost Per Kilogram?

Rhenium is an exceptionally expensive metal that costs about $1,000 per kilogram.

6. Osmium (Os)

Osmium is a hard, lustrous, bluish-white metal and the densest naturally occurring element.

Osmium is rare and hard to extract but important to many industries.

It’s primarily found in only two places, Turkey and China, and forms in platinum ore deposits.

It has the highest melting point of any element.

How Much Does Osmium Cost Per Gram?

Osmium costs about $13 per gram.

5. Iridium (Ir)

Iridium is a rare and unique metal that’s typically used in the aerospace or automotive industry.

Alloys containing iridium are used in jet engines, rockets, missiles, satellites, and nuclear reactors because of these properties.

It is also used for specialized applications like wire coatings, electrical contacts, and sensors.

The largest producer is in Russia with over 50% of worldwide production.

Iridium is often referred to as one of the world’s most expensive metals because of its rarity and high cost of production.

It was discovered in 1802 by the Swedish chemist Johan Gadolin.

Iridium is the densest natural metal known to exist by the platinum group.

It is a transition metal, characterized by its high melting point and resistance to corrosion.

How Much Does Iridium Cost Per Gram?

Iridium costs about $194 per gram due to recent shortages, though it was much cheaper in 2020.

4. Ruthenium (Ru)

Ruthenium is a valuable metal with only limited deposits in the Earth’s crust.

This element is extracted from ore deposits of ruthenium-rich mica.

It is relatively hard, malleable, and oxidizes very slowly when exposed to air.

The most significant source of ruthenium today comes from mineral deposits found in South Africa.

Ruthenium is mined primarily in South Africa, China, and Russia.

How Much Does Ruthenium Cost Per Gram?

Ruthenium costs about $8.4 per gram.

3. Gold (Au)

Gold is used for jewelry and coins, and it’s valued for its beauty, durability, rarity, and malleability.

Gold was first mined in the Middle East over 4,000 years ago when people started using pans to scrape the surface of the earth and collect nuggets from the dirt.

most expensive precious metals

This precious metal can be found in nature, but mining gold is extremely difficult due to its physical properties.

Gold can be mined from deposits of ore, and the ore can contain gold nuggets, flakes, or dust.

This precious metal has been prized since ancient times because it does not corrode or tarnish, so it’s usually seen as a safe investment option.

Also, ancient societies believed that gold was a gift from the gods.

Gold has been used as a currency for thousands of years and can be purchased in variety of sizes of gold bars, coins, and bullion. 

Nowadays, around 80% of gold production comes from South Africa, where many mines have been worked by hand since ancient times.

How Much Does Gold Cost Per Gram?

Gold costs about $59 per gram.

2. Palladium (Pd)

Palladium is a metal that is used in alloys for making jewelry, coins, and other items.

It is also used in the manufacture of catalysts, chemical reagents, and electronics.

most expensive precious metals

Palladium mining mostly takes place in Russia, South Africa, North America, Brazil, and Australia.

This precious metal is extracted through a process called hydrometallurgy, where it reacts with hydrogen sulfide gas which releases oxygen.

Palladium can only be found in small quantities on Earth, but it usually occurs with other minerals like silver, copper, or nickel.

How Much Does Palladium Cost Per Gram?

Palladium costs about $78 per gram.

1. Rhodium (Rh)

Rhodium is a soft, silvery-white, rare, and extremely chemically reactive transition metal.

It is found in nature, primarily in the mineral rhodochrosite.

Rhodium can be refined and used as an essential component of various industrial products, as it can be incorporated into corrosion-resistant metal.

most expensive precious metals

Rhodium has many industrial uses, but its most common use is as a catalyst to help organic compounds such as ethylene glycol or dimethyl ether react more efficiently.

It has several other essential applications, such as catalytic converters, jewelry, electronics, and even dentistry.

The precious metal is mined mainly in South Africa, Australia, Russia, and North America.

How Much Does Rhodium Cost Per Gram?

Rhodium costs about $509 per gram.

Why Invest in Precious Metals?

If you’re looking for an investment that can grow over time, precious metals are a good option.

Also, investing in them is a good way to hedge against economic downturns and market volatility.

Precious Metals for Investing 

Expensive precious metals, such as gold and silver, are the safest investments one can make in times of economic instability.

In addition to their safety, they also provide investors with tangible value that is easy to store and carry around daily.

Precious Metals and the Market

Historically, precious metals have been an essential part of the market.

They are widely traded and used as a form of currency.

Investing in precious metals can be a good idea for those looking for ways to diversify their portfolios.

However, you must know how to buy and store gold or silver safely.

What Is the Rarest Precious Metal in the World?

While many factors can go into determining the rarest metal (location, extraction, processing) rhodium, iridium, and ruthenium are likely the rarest based on these qualifications.

Where to Buy Precious Metals?

There are many ways to buy precious metals.

Buying with cash, buying from a dealer, or buying online are just some of the options that you have.

Gold is the most popular metal among investors and consumers alike.

For this reason, many online gold dealers offer 24/7 services.

Who Sells Precious Metals?

The best place to buy a precious metal is a physical bullion dealer who deals in that specific type of metal.

However, this can be a difficult option for people who don’t live in an area with a retailer nearby or don’t want to travel far from home.

A great alternative is a website like eBay that sells both physical and digital bullion items.

Final Thoughts: The Most Expensive Precious Metals?

The most expensive precious metals are gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

The value depends on a variety of factors, including supply and demand.

For investments, gold is the most commonly used, as its value remains stable, making it a solid hedge against inflation.

If you plan on investing in any of these precious metals, especially gold, make sure your portfolio is diversified because investment strategies should not depend on a single asset.

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Jenna Gleespen is a copywriter specializing in finance and investment finance. Originally from the United States, she now calls London, England home.