Everybody is aware that some metals are classified as precious. Gold and platinum are commonly known as luxury metals and are worth a hell of a lot of money. Whether they are turned into jewellery or are traded as bullion, these metals are not normally cheap. But what is it that makes them so expensive? What classifies a metal as 'precious' or 'valuable'?
Rarity
Probably the primary reason why metals are valuable or precious is their rarity. If something is not easily accessible or available to everyone, it automatically becomes exclusive – this is often seen as the case with items like gold and specifically gold bullion dealers. It is deemed to be a luxury, rather than something that anyone can simply wander into a shop and pick up. With certain metals, they are difficult to obtain. If they are rare, they are classified as being precious. Once they get the status of being 'precious', the value of these metals automatically increases. Gold in particular is often used as a form of currency, with people buying it as a hedge against difficult times economically or in times of social unrest. The fact that it is a precious metal means it will keep a decent amount of value, even in times of a huge financial crisis.
Strength
Some metals have properties that makes them more appealing, such as a high level of strength. They can be used for machinery and can withstand a lot of force. A hell of a lot of modern technology relies on metals and their strength is a key factor in this. Aeroplanes and even rockets are made of metal, capable of withstanding extreme conditions and forces, effectively making them invaluable for everyday life. While the metals that these types of machines are made of are not necessarily classified as 'precious', they still have a lot of value in a different way. The monetary cost of them is not as important as the benefits they offer.
Reputation
Some metals are classified as incredibly valuable because of the form they are in and the reputation that they have. For example, a copper ring that belonged to an iconic member of society 300 years ago will have a huge amount of value because of who it belonged to. While the actual material itself doesn't have a huge amount of value in real terms, the sentiment and the history behind the item is what gives the metal its status of being precious.
Personal value
One of the other elements that can classify a metal as precious is the value it has to a single person. If a piece of jewellery or a coin was given to us as a present from someone very special, it may be almost worthless. However, to the person that receives it, the value may actually be priceless and this personal value can make the item very special. Although on a general market these metals won't fetch much money, they are worth whatever somebody is prepared to pay for them. If they are steeped in sentimental value, that can be a hell of a lot of money.
Why are metals so precious?
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