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A Detailed History of Precious Metals

Solid assets of gold and silver

Precious metals are unique elements that are non-reactive with other metals and are hence considered rare. Because they are scarce, they have high worth in the market. Precious metals are employed in various applications, including jewelry and other manufacturing industries. Investing in precious metals is also considered a safe move to strengthen a portfolio.

Types of Precious Metals

There are four basic kinds of precious metals utilized in industrial procedures and the investment markets. These precious metals include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • Palladium

Other metals like titanium or nickel are mixed with the primary compounds to achieve specific chemical products.

History of Precious Metals

Precious metals, especially gold and silver, have had significant value in the world’s monetary history. The ancient civilizations considered gold and silver as noble metals, deemed the royalty’s treasures.

Silver was highly regarded in the barter system and exchanged for a high value. Today, these precious metals are considered essential for manufacturing due to their unique chemical formulation. Their high demand is the reason why they’ll never lose their value. This is why investing in gold and silver is considered a wise choice in the modern market.

Let’s take a deeper look at these precious metals and their incredible individual history:



Humans have traditionally regarded gold as a symbol of wealth. It is one of the most valuable and rare metallic elements on the planet. Gold has existed for ages. The people of Inca from the South American region referred to the bright yellow precious metal as the sweat of the sun. Gold is often referenced in Greek writings and ancient literature.

This demonstrates how gold has been a source of attraction for humans historically. Early in 700 BC, gold was ordered to be minted into coins in the Mediterranean regions.

Gold Today

About 190,000 metric tons of gold have been extracted from the earth’s core till now, out of which 10% has been used in the manufacturing industry, whereas the rest is kept safe in national gold reserves and private gold investments worldwide.

Gold Standard

Gold is an essential element of the economy today, but historically it was the central monetary system of the global economy. First adopted by the UK in early 1800 and then the USA in 1890, the Gold Standard was used to determine the value of a currency based on the amount of gold a particular country had. The countries with the highest gold reserves were considered the richest.

History of precious metal-Gold



Silver is extracted as a byproduct during the extraction of copper and nickel. Silver mining is said to have started some 5000 years ago in  Anatolia, which is now known as Turkey. Silver was used for trade by early civilizations in Greece and the Middle East. It helped in making these regions flourish around the world.

The South Americans were the biggest producers of silver in the early age. Today Mexico is responsible for the most extensive extraction of silver, followed by Peru and China, respectively.

Silver Today

Silver investing in today’s market is considered a buffer against inflation. This is because the industrial sectors always need it; hence, its market value seldom declines. Today, some industries that utilize it in large quantities include automotive, pharmaceutical, dentistry, and electronics.

History of precious metal-Silver



Platinum has been found in traces dating back centuries.  However, it’s still considered a new precious metal. The first instances of using this platinum date back to the 16th century, some 500 years ago.

However, it wasn’t given a name and used to be recognized as an “impure type of gold” by the Spanish extractors. It wasn’t until the 18th century that lab tests proved platinum to be a legitimate element with unique chemical properties of its own.

Platinum Today

Platinum is now widely utilized in modern automobile industries. Platinum is used extensively in car emissions control equipment called catalytic converters.  It is also used for jewelry and luxury ornaments.

Platinum has a considerable investment market as well but is often considered a risky investment. This is because the market value of platinum is often subjected to drastic fluctuations. Platinum isn’t as liquid as gold either, so it’s challenging to get a profitable trading price for it.


Palladium is a highly valued precious metal that derives its value from scarcity. It’s assumed that this precious metal would replace both silver and platinum in the industrial sector in ideal supply and demand conditions due to its unique chemical properties.

However, it isn’t readily available in the market, and the extraction process is long and strenuous. This is why palladium is traded at a higher value than gold. Russia and South Africa are the leading producers of palladium. This element has a high demand in the automotive, electronics, and ceramics industry.

How to Invest in Precious Metals?

There are more than one ways to invest in precious metals. One of the most preferred ways is to invest in bullion bars and bullion coins. These assets offer complete ownership and are profitable for trading at a higher price.

Other ways of investment include signing contract ownerships with extraction industries or contributing to a trading fund. You can also invest in precious metal futures for quick profits.

How to Invest in Precious Metals

Ready to Invest in Precious Metals?

Orion Metal Exchange is a reliable precious metal investment dealer. We’re located in Los Angeles and have our services extended to clients across the country and abroad.

We offer the best gold bullion bars and silver bullion coins in the market. We also provide professional consultations regarding secure gold and silver storage and precious metals IRA.

Contact us for a consultation session with an experienced American gold investor. 

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