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What is the Difference Between Precious Metals and Base Metals?

Learn What Distinguishes Precious Metals From Base Metals

What separates Precious Metals from base metals will help you understand exactly how precious and important the bullion you are buying is.

Couldn’t any of the elements be used as money? Not really. Theoretically, any of the elements could serve as money. Practically, however, there are limitations on which elements can serve as money and which can’t.

The limitation is broken into four parts that are essential to grasp. Those limitations are scarcity, solid, non-toxic and durability. The common Precious Metals we are familiar with, Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium, fall into these categories. Silver appears more commonly than the others. If the limitations hold true, then nearly 100 elements are eliminated from being a Precious Metal. Gasses, toxic elements and base metals fill in the rest of the periodic table.

Some base metals are important for industrial commodities and resources, but many of them are not considered as precious as Gold and Silver. The brittle nature of many of the base metals disqualifies them from being considered precious. These metals include lead, iron, aluminum and uranium.

It is argued that Copper is a Precious Metal, but it is commonly associated with the base metal group because of its high melting point. There are other metals that fall into both the Precious Metals and base metals camp, including Osmium, Rhodium, Ruthenium and Iridium.

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