In an era of virtual currencies, non-cash transactions, and complex banking solutions, traditional precious metals can still be an excellent form of investment. Reason? It took only three months last year for silver prices to rise by 30 percent and gold by 20 percent. On the financial market at that time, there was no way to look for instruments that could offer a comparable profit.
The phenomenon of precious metals is, among other things, that they do not deteriorate with time. Mined and valued a few centuries B.C., today, they still retain high value, becoming a synonym of durability, championship and victory.
The demand for gold, silver or platinum does not fall in the jewellery industry, and furthermore, these metals are increasingly used in modern trade. The governments of the countries invest their iron financial reserves in gold, which also meets the high demand on the investor market.
What you should know about the gold
The encyclopaedic description will tell us that we deal with a chemical element with atomic number 79, which belongs to heavy precious metals. In its pure form, it shines with a bright yellow glow.
Interesting facts? According to Factslides.com, almost all the world's gold comes from meteorites, which fell on our planet about 200 million years after its creation. The bombing probably went quite profusely, because the element was found on every continent of Earth. Nevertheless, the largest deposits were discovered in South Africa.
What is hard to believe — everyone has gold in their own body, most of it in their blood, but this substance is even found in their hair. Almost every computer we use on a daily basis has been produced by using gold. And from a ton of such computers, you can recover more precious metal than from a ton of gold ore.
The golden rings that the spouses put on each other's fingers, but also the rings worn every day, rub off, losing weight and thus their value. Fortunately, the losses are minimal — about six milligrams a year. This is almost nothing compared to how much, for example, the most extensive gold bar in the world weighs — 250 kg. Or in comparison with the most valuable coin in the world, which is a ton-weighted giant with the value of 1 million Australian dollars, the actual cost of which is estimated at about 45 million American dollars.
Among the countries that keep the largest reserves of gold per capita, Switzerland is the leader, with Lebanon taking second place. Many countries keep their gold reserves in underground vaults in London.
Not only computers but also popular smartphones are made with the use of this metal. A ton of iPhones contains about 300 times more ore than a ton of gold ore.
Gold is very popular in India. The inhabitants of this country have accumulated jewellery, which accounts for more than 10 percent of the world's resources and exceeds the reserves of the United States, the International Monetary Fund, Switzerland and Germany.
People have been mining gold continuously since the fourth millennium BC. But supplies are limited. It is estimated that there are still about 52 thousand tons of gold worth two trillion dollars in the ground. There is also a lot of gold in the oceans, where it is more expensive and complicated to extract.
The quality of gold, or in other words, the content of gold in gold, is connected with assay and carat. In the carat criterion, there is a simple rule — the higher (on a scale from 8 to 24), the purer the ore. Whereas the assay meter determines it oppositely — the lower the assay (on a range from 6 to 0), the more valuable it is.
From an investor's point of view, gold belongs to the so-called safe havens. These are instruments for which demand is growing when the markets are dominated by uncertainty and fear of risk. Armed and commercial conflicts, pandemics, political tensions — in such environments, precious metals usually attract the most considerable interest and prices rise. Rates are set in US dollars per ounce (about 28.34 grams).
On 25 March 2020, an ounce of gold cost USD 1.627 thousand, i.e., nearly PLN 6.9 thousand according to the Conotoxia.com exchange rates of the same day. Four years earlier, the equal measure of gold cost less than USD 1.2 thousand.
In the camera, mirror and rear window of your car
Although the first association with silver may lead to jewellery, coins, exquisite cutlery or old mirrors, it is worth mentioning that this very element among all metals has the most effective electricity and heat conductivity. This is one reason why silver is sometimes used to install window glass heating in cars. Silver threads due to their bactericidal and antifungal properties were also applied in the production of clothing for athletes and tourists. For the same reasons, surgical and dental instruments are also coated with silver.
Silver is usually obtained from copper, zinc, lead, nickel and gold ores mined from underground. The silver element is found less frequently in its pure form. Poland belonged to the elite of the world's leading producers of this metal, recovering silver from copper mines. It was the leader of the Old Continent in this respect. Whereas Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia and the United States, next to Poland, are the leading suppliers of global silver resources.
Without the chemical substances of silver, there would be no traditional photography with paper prints. This is because the material is adopted for the production of films that are installed in analogue cameras. Electronics, elements of industrial constructions — in these fields of industry, an element with the Ag symbol (Latin Argentum) is used to produce musical instruments and accessories like transverse flutes.
However, most often, silver is applied by producers of jewellery: chains, necklaces, earrings, etc. They are usually much cheaper than those made of gold. There is a well-known saying about the elegance and precious nature of metals: speech is silver, but silence is golden. In a slightly more extended version, we add to this that listening is platinum. Platinum, which...
...for centuries, no one has ever valued
Today, the most precious and rare precious metal proves its exclusivity of items such as platinum credit cards. However, a chemical symbol element Pt has been waiting for its place in the hierarchy for thousands of years.
It was found in large parts as a building material for houses without any recognition in the eyes of jewellers or coin issuers. Moreover, rims for wooden barrels were created of it. The fraudsters provided false silver for the unfamiliar coin or jewellery buyers. The Spanish word platinum means small silver (plata). To Europe, travelers returning from the area of today's Colombia and Mexico would take platinum with them in the form of a trivia — a metal that the fire was unable to melt. As late as the 19th-century people began to realize the absolutely unique character of platinum.
Today, mainly in South Africa, Canada, USA, Russia, Ethiopia, a metal with a very high melting temperature (1768 degrees Celsius) and exceptional resistance to chemical substances is obtained for two main groups of customers.
One of them is the automotive industry, where platinum has become an element of car exhaust catalysts. The second is the jewellery industry, where platinum is appreciated for its shine, tarnish and corrosion resistance. The ore components are found in a limited series of expensive, prestigious watches. Gold is often applied in measuring instruments and in medicine and dentistry.
Like gold and silver, platinum bars are traded as an instrument for investors.
Interesting fact: if travelling to the moon did not involve huge costs, more platinum could be obtained from there than from all earthly deposits.
Platinum, gold, silver — an investment for difficult times
Precious metals generally gain in value when uncertainty looks into the world's eyes and investors avoid risk. Although prices in US dollars, such as gold or silver, fluctuate widely, they often remain resistant to inflation and the turbulence on the stock markets. While gold and silver bars are not meant to serve us only as an investment of capital but to become a tool for getting rich, the whole point is to buy when prices fall and to sell when prices rise.
The list of factors that influence increases and decreases in precious metal quotations begins with the universal supply and demand principle. One problem is that resources, e.g., gold, is already quite limited, and demand from central banks, industry and individual investors remains high.
Nevertheless, it happens that prices fall significantly when, for example, economic trends are excellent, the GDP of the world's largest economies is growing dynamically, the stock exchanges are dominated by bull markets and no serious geopolitical tensions are heard.