Answers to Common Questions about Precious Metals

A customer called recently and asked us, “How much gold is in platinum?” And then he added, “I guess that is a pretty silly question, right?”

No, that is not a silly question to ask! Our philosophy is that there are no stupid questions . . . only stupid answers. We understand that the world of precious metals is complicated, with so much to understand on topics like alloys, karat counts, not to mention topics like pink, white, and rose-colored gold. Only an expert who is in the business can stay current and fully informed on all the topics that pertain to precious metals.

So in today’s post, we are going to answer some questions about precious metals we have heard. And possibly, questions that have been on your mind.

“How much gold is in platinum?”

Pure platinum does not contain any gold. They are different elements and different metals. Yet platinum can be mixed with gold (and lots of other metals) to create alloys.

“Aren’t platinum and rhodium the same thing?”

No, they are different metals. In fact, they are different elements. Each appears on the periodic table of elements, where platinum as the atomic number 78, and rhodium has the atomic number 45. Confusion arises about these metals because both are bright and white-toned.

“Are rare earths precious metals?”

No, they are not. Rare earths are valuable compounds that are found in nature, many of them in Greenland. They are in demand because they are used in the display screens that are used in cellphones and other devices. But strictly speaking, they are not all metallic and are not precious metals.

“Gold is the most valuable precious metal, right?”

No, both palladium and rhodium are currently trading at slightly higher prices than gold is. To monitor trading prices, be sure to visit our home page, where we post current precious metal trading prices on the London Fix.

“Precious metals are so pure that you can’t poison yourself by eating them or exposing yourself to them, right? They pass right through your body if you ingest them!”

This is a dangerously wrong idea. The fact that a metal is pure doesn’t mean that your body can’t absorb it, or that it cannot harm you. Furthermore, you can poison yourself by dissolving or heating metals of many kinds and inhaling the fumes. That is why (in our view) handling and processing precious metals is best left to professional laboratories like ours.

“White gold and platinum are the same thing, right?”

No, they are not. White gold is an alloy of gold that has been mixed with, palladium, zinc or silver to alter gold’s natural yellowish color. White gold and platinum might look similar, but they are different metals entirely.

“Titanium is a precious metal, correct?”

No. Titanium is a fascinating and durable metal – an element with the atomic number 22 on the periodic table. Many people like titanium rings and other items of jewelry, because the metal is incredibly strong and corrosion-resistant. Yet titanium can be bought for prices in the range of $30/lb., which means it is hardly a precious metal.

“Precious metals are so pure that they are hard as diamonds, right?”

We don’t know where this idea came from. Most precious metals, including gold and silver, are actually quite soft and malleable.

“Precious metals always increase steadily in value, correct? That’s why they are called precious metals.”

While it is true that precious metals generally increase in value in the long term, prices do fluctuate. The gold, silver or platinum you buy today could drop in value in a few days, in a week, or even over the period of a few years. But the price will generally rebound. That is why most people who invest in precious metals are looking for long-term growth and/or stability, not quick profits.

Do You Have Questions to Ask about Precious Metals?

Give our consultants a call at 800-426-2344. We are here to answer your questions about the precious metals you own . . . or would like to invest in.