The other day the Clear Science staff got to talking about expensive things. This lead to consideration of precious metals, which one often thinks of when the word “expensive” comes up. Some of the precious metals everyone knows about:
Gold
Silver
Platinum
But there are others, which you hear about less often: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, rhenium, osmium, and iridium. Gold, platinum, and silver are used ornamentally because of their beauty, like in wedding rings. However, the high cost of precious metals has more to do with a combination of usefulness and scarcity.
There are entire careers for people who keep track of the going price of these metals and buy and sell them accordingly. A recent list of prices can be found on Wikipedia. Notice how at the end of 2009, the price of rhodium spiked past that of platinum to $88,415 per kilogram, making it the most expensive.

The other day the Clear Science staff got to talking about expensive things. This lead to consideration of precious metals, which one often thinks of when the word “expensive” comes up. Some of the precious metals everyone knows about:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum

But there are others, which you hear about less often: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, rhenium, osmium, and iridium. Gold, platinum, and silver are used ornamentally because of their beauty, like in wedding rings. However, the high cost of precious metals has more to do with a combination of usefulness and scarcity.

There are entire careers for people who keep track of the going price of these metals and buy and sell them accordingly. A recent list of prices can be found on Wikipedia. Notice how at the end of 2009, the price of rhodium spiked past that of platinum to $88,415 per kilogram, making it the most expensive.