When we think of precious metals, the first thing that usually comes to mind is perhaps a shiny gold ring or a silver picture frame. But have you ever stopped to think about the actual history of precious metals? Why do we have them? And how did they become so important? If you’ve ever wondered about these things, you’re in for a treat. We’ll explore the history of precious metals from both a macro and a micro perspective and begin by exploring their place in the history of money. Then we will take a look at some of the unique properties of precious metals.
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1. Gold and Silver
In the early days of human civilization, people used precious metals to exchange. They would trade their food and other necessities with gold and silver coins. The gold and silver they traded were extracted from the ground and refined by smelting. At this point, however, precious metals were primarily used as barter items. But for this system to work effectively, everyone had to agree on a common unit of measurement for gold and silver. And that is where we get our modern-day standard system of weights and measures from! Using a standardized system of weights made it easier for everyone to exchange goods with each other since there would be no need for each person to have their own set of scales. The Romans first adopted the system of weights and measures from the Greeks, and it is still used today.
2. Platinum and Palladium
Platinum and palladium were two of the first metals to be discovered, and they were both discovered in ancient times. They were both found in the same part of the world, South Africa. Platinum is a rare metal only found in a few places on earth. There are only two known deposits of platinum: one in Russia and one in South Africa (the other is located in Nigeria). The South African deposit has been mined since 1885, but the Russian deposit has only been mined since 1991. Platinum is one of the rarest and most valuable metals globally, and it is mined in only a few places around the world. Palladium is also found in very small quantities, and it is mined mainly in South Africa. Platinum has a lustrous silvery-white color, while palladium has a deep blue or dark gray color.
3. Rhodium and Iridium
The two are rare and valuable metals that are very similar to platinum and palladium in terms of their physical properties. However, they are significantly less common than these metals. Rhodium, which is often referred to as “white gold,” is found in only a few places worldwide, primarily in South Africa, Russia, and Brazil. Iridium is rare and can only be found in a few places, such as the United States and Canada. Iridium has a silvery appearance with a bluish-gray color. They are both metals that are found on the earth. They were also used as a method of exchange, but they were not widely used until the 20th century. Rhodium is extremely rare, and it is mined only in a few places worldwide. Iridium is also found in very small quantities, and it is mined mainly in South Africa. Rhodium has a bright silvery-white color, while iridium has a deep blue or dark gray color.
4. Ruthenium and Osmium
Ruthenium is a rare metal only found in Russia and South Africa. It is commonly referred to as “red gold,” but it has a much more interesting history than just its color. Ruthenium was first discovered in 1844, and it was found in a place called the Ural Mountains. It was named after the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, where it was first discovered. Ruthenium has an intense red color when struck by light, but it appears to be silver-colored when it is polished. Ruthenium has a metallic luster and a silvery appearance when polished.
On the other hand, osmium is extremely rare and difficult to find because most of the osmium that exists on earth comes from asteroids or meteorites that have fallen on earth. Osmium is also very similar to platinum and palladium in terms of its physical properties, but osmium’s color is much different than those metals. Osmium is a bluish-gray color, and it has a metallic luster. Osmium is also known as “OsO4.”
Since the beginning of history, people have used precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum to make their wealth known. These metals are rare, but they are not as rare as many people think. Some of these metals can be found in many places around the world. These metals are also used to exchange, but they were not widely used until the 20th century. Some of these metals, such as rhodium and iridium, have a very interesting history.