Don’t Get Fooled: 15 Things to Know Before Buying Bullion

Don’t Get Fooled: 15 Things to Know Before Buying Bullion


You’ve been thinking about investing in precious metals. It’s been on your radar for a while, but you’re not sure how to go about it. Fear not. I’ve got 15 tips to share with you. These are things you should be aware of before you attempt to buy bullion. Bullion was once an investment that was limited to the wealthiest individuals. Now it’s something anyone can hold. And with the 24/7 availability of secure on-line markets, it has never been easier to buy or sell. Follow these tips, and soon you’ll be investing like a pro.

1. Gold is gold

There’s nothing like gold. It’s a foundational investment, not a piece of paper like a stock or bond that is a promise of future payment. Rather, it’s something you can hold in your hands that have intrinsic value. Banks may go bankrupt, governments may fall, but gold will hold its value. People were trading in gold millennia ago, and they will be trading in precious metals thousands of years into the future. Your great-grandchildren can inherit your gold coins, and rest assured that the metal will not have lost value. At the very least, the coins will be worth what you paid for them in terms of their purchasing power.

2. Let the buyer beware

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to trading in gold, silver, platinum, or palladium. These are expensive investments to acquire, and unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to cheat you. Whenever I hear some blowhard at Starbucks touting the virtues of gold coins to a starry-eyed mark, I cringe. Education and knowledge are key to spotting a scam, and to avoiding the wrong kind of investment. If you don’t have the patience to learn the basics, do yourself a favor. Don’t bother.

3. Know yourself

Are you a safe-haven type investor? Do you want a hedge against inflation? These are both good reasons to buy bullion, and for many people, investment in gold can be part of a well-balanced portfolio. How you answer these questions should steer you to the right bullion investment. Seeking that safe-haven? You don’t want a leveraged or financed investment; you could end up losing more money than you were loaned. ETFs would also be inappropriate. Gold certificates are paper, and the whole point of getting into bullion for many is to avoid paper money. Gold shares are a speculative, high-risk investment. Own the gold outright. It’s the most conservative investment. Again, its purchasing power will remain stable over many years.

4. Know bullion

Bullion is sold as ingots or coins, by weight, and these ingots and coins come in different sizes. Gold bars start at the one-ounce size and go up from there in weight and price. The most popular one-ounce coins to hold (and also the easiest to liquidate) are the South African Krugerrandthe Canadian Maple Leaf, and the U.S. Gold Eagle. Coins with the numismatic value may command a premium. Jewelry may also be worth more than its weight in gold, but that’s unlikely unless Louis Comfort Tiffany produced it. But if you love it, and you want to wear your gold coin as a necklace, do so.

5. Consider your portfolio

Starting out, I would recommend that you invest no more than between ten and fifteen percent of your overall portfolio. Although gold is liquid, because its price can bounce around, and silver even more so, bullion is better to hold onto long term. Leave the day trading in precious metals to the professionals.

6. Understand the investment

Realize that bullion is an investment that won’t generate any income while you hold it; it’s not going to pay dividends or earn interest. But for the same reason, it also won’t subject you to any income taxes. Capital gains (or losses) only come into play when you sell. Before you do so, think about whether any potential gain will push you into the next higher tax bracket.

7. How to buy rare coins

Find a dealer you can trust. That person may be running the local coin store down the street, but do your due diligence. If you’re buying numismatic, historical, or collector coins—they have premium value for collectors over and above the melt value. Price depends on rarity and condition. You need someone who will give you a fair price. A guarantee to buy back the coin at the price you paid for it is a good sign. Check that the coin dealer adheres to the highest standards and holds a membership in the Professional Numismatists Guild. If you choose to invest in rare coins, as a novice, it might be wise to pick one coin to become an authority on. Be aware that the learning curve to become an expert is steep, but many people find coin-collecting fascinating and lucrative.

8. Understand how bullion is priced

The spot price is the current market price of gold that can be immediately delivered. The difference between the buying price and the selling price is the spread. The dealer pays a bid price to acquire bullion or bullion coins. The asking price is what you will pay. It is calculated based on the metal’s spot value, with an added-on premium. Because gold prices fluctuate constantly, gold bullion prices will as well.

9. How to buy bullion and coins without numismatic value

You want a low-cost purchase, so you need to find an individual or company who charges a small commission on the spot price. To vet any company you are considering doing business with, the Federal Trade Commission advises to check with the appropriate consumer protection agency—usually that’s going to be the Better Business Bureau—as well as the state’s attorney general’s office. Usually, the best price will come from an online company, one that does a high volume business; it keeps costs down. Silver Monthlyrecently profiled The Top 10 Online Bullion Dealers. Other considerations to weigh are how long the company has been in business and their communication style. When I have questions, I want answers, and I bet you do too.

10. Timing bullion purchases

Buy low, sell high. Trying to time the market can be a futile exercise. You might be better off smoothing out any price bumps by investing the same sum once a month or once a quarter, perhaps a thousand at a time. This technique is called dollar-cost averaging. Some precious metals experts pooh-pooh the strategy, saying wouldn’t you want to be all in when there’s a bull market raging, knowing that gold and silver are long term investments? It’s your call, and your decision, and it’s going to depend upon how risk adverse you are.

11. Know the lingo

If you were buying diamonds, cut, weight, and clarity matter. Gold is graded, coins are rated, and you need to know what you are buying, whether it’s a pure ingot or a centuries-old Spanish piece of eight salvaged from a shipwreck. Stick with top-of-the-line, nothing graded downward, because that precious metal will hold its value best.

12. Counterfeit bullion

Counterfeit gold and silver ingots, as well as gold coins, are currently being sold out of China. Some are high-quality, and to the inexpert eye, difficult to distinguish from the originals. By working with a dealer with a sterling reputation, one who’s been in business for years, this won’t be something for you to worry about. It’s definitely worth asking the question of someone you’re planning on doing business with: what kinds of tests do you do and what protocols do you have in place to ensure you’re not inadvertently selling fakes?

13. Storage

Gold is portable, and keeping it at home is possible. A personal safe provides peace of mind. If the bullion or coins are very valuable, your insurance provider may insist on a rider. Other than that insurance agent, no one should know that you keep gold in your home. Don’t let your home become a burglary target by showing off your darling Chinese panda coins to everyone who walks in the door. A safe-deposit box at the bank is another secure way to store the cache. Some gold investors recommend an independent depository as an even safer way to store bullion. If you have a lot invested in bullion, this is the way to go.

14. Avoid the deal of the day

High-pressure sales tactics abound among the unscrupulous. If a deal is only good today, no matter how good it appears, walk away. It’s likely that it’s only going to be a good deal for the seller. Remember, as with any long-term investment, you should take your time deciding what is right for you.

15. The future of gold

Gold is finite. There is a limit to what can be dug out of the earth, and thus I can predict future scarcity with certainty. Much of the gold that’s sold now is recycled, but not all of it can be. It’s Econ101: as any commodity becomes scarce, its price tends to rise. That bodes well for the future, and your investment. I hope this gives you enough information to enable you to begin investing in bullion, in a way that takes your investment goals and your own situation into consideration.

Don’t Get Fooled: 15 Things to Know Before Buying Bullion

A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Precious Metals

A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Precious Metals

Beginners Guide

If you are interested in investing and financial planning, you are probably familiar with buying precious metals like gold and silver. Many financial advisors recommend diversifying your portfolio, which is essentially spreading your investments across an array of stocks and commodities to help minimize risk; if one investment drops in value, it can be beneficial to have additional investments that may not be as greatly affected by the market.

Precious metals provide not only a hard asset, but an ideal safe haven investment that has historically withstood economic uncertainty. The utility and rarity of these metals has been treasured for centuries as a monetary device and a symbol of wealth.

But even with the knowledge that investing in precious metals may be the right option for you, learning where to begin can be overwhelming. This guide is designed to give you a basic overview of investing in precious metals. Once you discover your areas of interest, you can do some additional research or bring questions to your financial advisor for a more thorough understanding of the market.

Types of Metals

Precious metals are naturally occurring metallic elements that are relatively rare to find, which has contributed to their value throughout history. It is common to find metals like gold and silver in jewelry, but precious metals also have a wide variety of industrial uses as well. The supply and demand of these metals across various industries is what causes spot prices—the current price of a metal—to stay in flux while markets are open.

The most common precious metals used for investing include:

  • Gold: Treasured for its durability, malleability, and conductivity, gold is primarily used as a form of currency and in the making of jewelry. It has additional uses in electronics and dentistry.
  • Silver: With more industrial uses than gold, silver price fluctuations are often more volatile; but its affordability makes it an ideal choice for beginner investors. Silver is used for electrical appliances, medicinal applications, batteries, circuits, and a variety of other purposes.
  • Platinum: Due to its rarity, far less platinum is pulled from the ground than gold. The most common use of platinum outside of ornamental purposes is in the manufacture of automotive catalytic converters. It is also used in the computer industry and for chemical refining.
  • Palladium: Similar to platinum, palladium is used to make engines and ceramic capacitors in chargeable electronics. It can also be alloyed with gold to make white gold, which is mostly used for jewelry.

Some investors also choose to buy copper, magnesium, zirconium, iron, and other metals that have a host of industrial uses.

Why Invest in Precious Metals?

With a paper money system in place, why should you invest in precious metals? While we cannot predict exactly what could happen to our economy in the future, we can take notes from history. Several forms of paper money—also called fiat currency—have collapsed in various cultures over the centuries. But gold, silver, and other metals have remained universally valuable commodities.

People often view metals as a safe haven investment. It is common to see an increase in demand during times of economic or political instability, as well as during times of war or other crises. Faltering real estate, stocks, and bonds may also drive people toward precious metals. If security is threatened, metals provide a valuable asset that you can keep in your own possession.

Another benefit of investing in precious metals is that they offer protection against inflation. You cannot create more metals than what already exists, so they cannot be inflated. Metals are also free of credit risk. Owning metals helps diversify your portfolio, which is often recommended for more investment security.

How to Invest in Precious Metals

The first step to any investment plan is identifying your goals. This helps you determine which types of investment options can help you achieve what you want. Whether your goals are short-term or long-term, there are several ways to begin investing in metals. But bear in mind that precious metals should only be a portion of your portfolio. A healthy mix of investments helps protect your finances from market volatility.

Some of the ways you can begin investing in precious metals include:

  • Exchange-traded fund (ETF): This is a basket of funds that tracks a commodity or index. It is a security on the investment, so you can profit as others buy metals. You can get an ETF for gold, silver, or platinum as a liquid means of purchasing metals.
  • Gold or silver stocks: This is an investment in the companies that mine metals, not the metals themselves. It provides an indirect way to invest in the market.
  • Physical metals: You can buy precious metal bullion in the form of coins, rounds, and bars. So long as you have a safe method of storage, this provides you with a tangible asset for wealth protection. This is a favorable option for people who wish to incrementally accumulate wealth over the years.
  • Precious metal IRA: This allows you to reap the benefits of owning metal, without the hassle of storing or transporting it. Rather, it is kept in a bank vault.

24 Ways To Say Cool In the Summer Heat…

We’ve all been there—tossing and turning in bed, struggling because our sweat has us practically glued to the sheets. It. Is. Awful. There are few things worse than trying to catch some shut-eye (or even just relax!) in an incredibly hot, sticky room. But brutal summer temps are unavoidable for most of us at some point in the year. So how to cool down a room without AC? It’s possible, we swear! A few quick tips and trips, a bunch of which you’ve probably never heard, can mean the difference between a sleepless night in a borderline sauna and some blissful zzzs. So what are we going to cover? (Well, not ourselves, obviously.) Things like how to use the freezer to your advantage (it’s not what you think), getting low (to the ground, that is), and getting extra creative with grains. Confused? Just read on. It will all make sense.

Before we dive in, we realize the obvious solution for cool, calm, and REM-ful sleeping is an air conditioner: These modern gizmos can keep a bedroom at the optimum sleep temperature (roughly between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit), plus provide some nice white noise to boot. But even small window units use up tons of energy and jack up monthly electric bills. So what’s an environmentally responsible, budget-conscious sleeper to do?

Living through a hot summer without AC seems impossible but, hey, our grandparents did it all the time! Turns out, they learned a few things in the process. Here are all those tried-and-true DIY strategies for how to stay cool in summer.

1. Choose cotton.

Save the ooh-la-la satin, silk, or polyester sheets for cooler nights. Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton (Egyptian or otherwise) are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow in the bedroom.

2. Feel the freezer burn.

Stick sheets in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before bed. We recommend placing them in a plastic bag first (unless eu de frozen pizza is your fave aromatherapy scent). Granted, this won’t keep you cool all night, but it will provide a brief respite from heat and humidity.

3. Get cold comfort.

Here’s a four-seasons tip for keeping utilities charges down: Buy a hot water bottle. In winter, fill it with boiling water for toasty toes without cranking the thermostat. During summer, stick it in the freezer to create a bed-friendly ice pack.

4. Be creative.

If you thought fans are just for blowing hot air around, think again! Point box fans out the windows so they push hot air out, and adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room.

5. Sleep like an Egyptian.

If there seem to be a lot of Egyptian references in this list, it’s because those Nile-dwellers knew how to do it right. The so-called “Egyptian method” involves dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and using it as a blanket. We recommend laying the damp sheets on top of a dry towel to avoid soaking the mattress.

6. Get loose.

Less is definitely more when it comes to summertime jammies. Pick a loose, soft cotton shirt and shorts or underwear. Going full nudie during a heat wave is (unsurprisingly) controversial. Some people believe it helps keep them cool, while others claim going au natural means sweat stays on the body instead of being wicked away by fabric. We’re going to chalk this one up to personal preference.

7. Go old-school.

Remember when refrigerators were iceboxes that contained actual blocks of ice? Us neither. This stay-cool trick is straight out of the icebox era, though. Make a DIY air conditioner by positioning a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works nicely) full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.

8. Create a cross-breeze.

In this case, hanging out in the cross-hairs is a good idea. Position a fan across from a window, so the wind from outside and the fan combine in a cooling cross-breeze. Feeling fancy? Go buck-wild and set up multiple fans throughout the room to make the airflow even more boisterous.

9. Pamper your pulses.

Need to cool down, stat? To chill out super-fast, apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.

10. Get tech-y.

We can’t vouch for its effectiveness, but the chillow—a high-tech pad that stays cool through water circulation—seems like a genius idea.

11. Be a lone wolf.

Sorry lovebugs, but sleeping alone is way better than spooning for staying cool. Cuddling with a partner increases body heat, making the bed a sticky, sweaty pit of despair instead of a cool, calm oasis.

12. Release your inner Tarzan.

Feeling ambitious (or just really, really hot)? Rig up a hammock or set up a simple cot. Both types of beds are suspended on all sides, which increases airflow.

13. Fill up the tank.

Get a leg up on hydration by drinking a glass of water before bed. Tossing and turning and sweating at night can result in dehydration, so get some H20 in the tank beforehand. (Pro tip: Just eight ounces will do the trick, unless you’re really into those 3 a.m. bathroom runs.)

14. Cool off.

A cold shower takes on a whole new meaning come summertime. Rinsing off under a stream of tepid H20 brings down the core body temperature and rinses off sweat (ick) so you can hit the hay feeling cool and clean.

15. Get low.

Hot air rises, so set up your bed, hammock, or cot as close to the ground as possible to beat the heat. In a one-story home, that means hauling the mattress down from a sleeping loft or high bed and putting it on the floor. If you live in a multi-floor house or apartment, sleep on the ground floor or in the basement instead of an upper story.

16. Turn off the lights.

This tip is pretty self-explanatory. Light bulbs (even environmentally-friendly CFLs) give off heat. Fortunately, summer means it stays light until eight or nine at night. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible, and keep rooms cool after dark by using lights minimally or not at all (romantic candle-lit dinner, anyone?).

17. Hang out.

Cool down a whole room by hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window. The breeze blowing in will quickly bring down the room’s temperature.

18. Stay away from the stove.

Summer is not the time to whip up a piping hot casserole or roast chicken. Instead, chow down on cool, room-temperature dishes (salads are clutch) to avoid generating any more heat in the house. If hot food is in order, fire up the grill instead of turning on the oven. And swap big meals for smaller, lighter dinners that are easier to metabolize. The body produces more heat after you chow down on a huge steak than a platter of fruits, veggies, and legumes.

19. Encourage cold feet.

Those ten little piggies are pretty sensitive to temperature because there are lots of pulse points in the feet and ankles. Cool down the whole body by dunking (clean!) feet in cold water before hitting the hay. Better yet, keep a bucket of water near the bed and dip feet whenever you’re feeling hot throughout the night.

20. Unplug at night.

As in, literally disconnect electronics. Gadgets and other small appliances give off heat, even when turned off. Reduce total heat in the house (and save energy!) by keeping plugs out of sockets when the appliances are not in use.

21. Camp at home.

Got access to a safe outdoor space like a roof, courtyard, or backyard? Practice those camping skills (and stay cooler) by pitching a tent and sleeping al fresco.

22. Hog the bed.

Sleeping alone (see No. 11 above) has its perks, including plenty of space to stretch out. Snoozing in spread eagle position (i.e. with arms and legs not touching each other) is best for reducing body heat and letting air circulate around the body. Hit the hay in this sleep position to keep limbs from getting crazy sweaty.

23. Go rustic.

When temperatures soar, trade in that extra-comfy mattress for a minimalist straw or bamboo mat. These all-natural sleeping surfaces are less comfortable, but they don’t retain heat like a puffy, cloth-covered mattress.

24. Get creative with grains.

Rice and buckwheat aren’t just for eating! These cupboard staples can also keep you cool on hot nights. Stock up on buckwheat pillows, which don’t absorb heat like cotton and down. And for a cold compress on really hot nights, fill a sock with rice, tie it off, and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. The compress will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes, definitely enough time to nod off.

Originally published June 2013. Updated May 2017.

Precious Metals….did you know??????

Precious metals

Gold, silver, and platinum have historically been valued for their beauty and rarity. They are the precious metals . Platinum usually costs slightly more than gold, and both metals are about 80 times more costly than silver. Precious metal weights are given in Troy ounces (named for Troyes, France, known for its fairs during the Middle Ages) a unit approximately 10% larger than 1 oz (28.35 g).

The ancients considered gold and silver to be of noble birth compared to the more abundant metals. Chemists have retained the term noble to indicate the resistance these metals have to corrosion , and their natural reluctance to combine with other elements.

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The legends of King Midas and Jason’s search for the golden fleece hint at prehistoric mankind’s early fascination with precious metals. The proof comes in the gold and silver treasure found in ancient Egyptian tombs and even older Mesopotamian burial sites.

The course of recorded history also shows twists and turns influenced to a large degree by precious metals. It was Greek silver that gave Athens its Golden Age, Spanish gold and silver that powered the Roman Empire‘s expansion, and the desire for gold that motivated Columbus to sail west across the Atlantic. The exploration of Latin America was driven in large part by the search for gold, and the Jamestown settlers in North America had barely gotten their “land legs” before they began searching for gold. Small amounts of gold found in North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama played a role in the 1838 decision to remove the Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma. The California gold rush of 1849 made California a state in 1850, and California gold fueled northern industry and backed up union currency, two major factors in the outcome of the Civil War.

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Since ancient times, gold has been associated with the Sun . Its name is believed to be derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “to shine,” and its chemical symbol (Au) comes from aurum, Latin for “glowing dawn.” Pure gold has an attractive, deep yellow color and a specific gravity of 19.3. Gold is soft enough to scratch with a fingernail, and the most malleable of metals. A block of gold about the size of a sugar cube can be beaten into a translucent film some 27 ft (8 m) on a side. Gold’s purity is expressed either as fineness (parts per 1,000) or in karats (parts per 24). An alloy containing 50% gold is 500 fine or 12 karat gold. Gold resists corrosion by air and most chemicals but can be dissolved in a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids, a solution called aqua regia because it dissolves the “king of metals”.

Gold is so rare that one ton of average rock contains only about eight pennies worth of gold. Gold ore occurs where geologic processes have concentrated gold to at least 250 times the value found in average rock. At that concentration, there is still one million times more rock than gold and the gold is rarely seen. Ore with visible gold is fabulously rich.

Gold most commonly occurs as a pure metal called native gold or as a natural alloy with silver called electrum. Gold and silver combined with tellurium are of local importance. Gold and silver tellurides are found, for example, in the mountains around the old mining boom-town of Telluride, Colorado. Gold is found in a wide variety of geologic settings, but placer gold and gold veins are the most economically important.

Placer gold is derived from gold-bearing rock from which the metal has been freed by weathering . Gravity and running water then combine to separate the dense grains of gold from the much lighter rock fragments. Rich concentrations of gold can develop above deeply weathered gold veins as the lighter rock is washed away. The “Welcome Stranger” from the gold fields of Victoria, Australia , is a spectacular 158–16 (71.5-kg) example of this type of occurrence.

Gold washed into mountain streams also forms placer deposits where the stream’s velocity diminishes enough to deposit gold. Stream placers form behind boulders and other obstructions in the streambed, and where a tributary stream merges with a more slowly moving river. Placer gold is also found in gravel bars where it is deposited along with much larger rocky fragments.

The discovery of placer gold set off the California gold rush of 1849 and the rush to the Klondike in 1897. The largest river placers known are in Siberia, Russia. Gold-rich sands there are removed with jets of water, a process known as hydraulic mining. A fascinating byproduct of Russia’s hydraulic mining is the unearthing of thousands of woolly mammoths, many with flesh intact, locked since the Ice Age in frozen tundra gravel.

Stream placer deposits have their giant ancient counterparts in paleoplacers, and the Witwatersrand district in South Africa outproduces all others combined. Gold was reported from the Witwatersrand (White Waters Ridge) as early as 1834, but it was not until 1886 that the main deposit was discovered. From that time until today, it has occupied the paramount position in gold mining history. Witwatersrand gold was deposited between 2.9 and 2.6 billion years ago in six major fields, each produced by an ancient river system.

Placer and paleoplacers are actually secondary gold deposits, their gold having been derived from older deposits in the mountains above. The California 49ers looked upstream hoping to find the mother lode, and that’s exactly what they called the system of gold veins they discovered.

Vein gold is deposited by hot subterranean water known as a hydrothermal fluid. Hydrothermal fluids circulate through rock to leach small amounts of gold from large volumes of rock and then deposit it in fractures to form veins. Major U.S. gold vein deposits have been discovered at Lead in the Black Hills of South Dakota and at Cripple Creek on the slopes of Pike’s Peak, Colorado. Important vein deposits are also found in Canada and Australia. All these important deposits were located following the discovery of placer gold in nearby streams.

Gold’s virtual indestructibility means that almost all gold ever mined could still be in use today. Today, gold is being mined in ever-increasing amounts from increasingly lower-grade deposits. It is estimated that 70% of all gold recovered has been mined in this century. Each year nearly 2,000 tons are added to the total. Nevada currently leads the nation in gold production, and the Republic of South Africa is the world’s leading gold-producing nation.

Gold has traditionally been used for coinage, bullion, jewelry, and other decorative uses. Gold’s chemical inertness means that gold jewelry is hypoallergenic and remains tarnish-free indefinitely.

Silver is a brilliant white metal and the best metal in terms of thermal and electrical conductivity. Its chemical symbol, Ag, is derived from its Latin name, argentum, meaning “shining white.” Silver is not nearly as precious, dense, or noble as gold or platinum. The ease with which silverware tarnishes is an example of its chemical reactivity. Although native silver is found in nature, it most commonly occurs as compounds with other elements, especially sulfur.

Hydrothermal veins constitute the most important source of silver. The Comstock Lode, a silver bonanza 15 mi (24 km) southeast of Reno, Nevada, is a well-known example. Hydrothermal silver veins are formed in the same manner as gold veins, and the two metals commonly occur together. Silver, however, being more reactive than gold, can be leached from surface rocks and carried downward in solution. This process, called supergene enrichment, can concentrate silver into exceedingly rich deposits at depth.

Mexico has traditionally been the world’s leading silver producing country, but the United States, Canada, and Peru each contribute significant amounts. Although silver has historically been considered a precious metal, industrial uses now predominate. Significant quantities are still used in jewelry, silver ware, and coinage; but even larger amounts are consumed by the photographic and electronics industries.

Platinum, like silver, is a silver-white metal. Its chemical symbol is Pt and its name comes from the Spanish world for silver (plata ), with which it was originally confused. Its specific gravity of 21.45 exceeds that of gold, and, like gold, it is found in pure metallic chunks in stream placers. The average crustal abundance of platinum is comparable to that of gold. The melting point of platinum is 3,219°F (1,769°C), unusually high for a metal, and platinum is chemically inert even at high temperature . In addition, platinum is a catalyst for chemical reactions that produce a wide range of important commodities.

Platinum commonly occurs with five similar metals known as the platinum group metals. The group includes osmium, iridium, rhodium, palladium, and ruthenium. All were discovered in the residue left when platinum ore was dissolved in aqua regia. All are rare, expensive, and classified chemically as noble metals.

Platinum is found as native metal, in natural alloys, and in compounds with sulfur and arsenic. Platinum ore deposits are rare, highly scattered, and one deposit dominates all others much as South Africa’s Witwatersrand dominates world gold production. That platinum deposit is also in the Republic of South Africa.

Placer platinum was discovered in South Africa in 1924 and subsequently traced to a distinctively layered igneous rock known as the Bushveld Complex. Although the complex is enormous, the bulk of the platinum is found in a thin layer scarcely more than three feet thick. Nearly half of the world’s historic production of platinum has come from this remarkable layer.

The Stillwater complex in the Beartooth mountains of southwestern Montana also contains a layer rich in platinum group metals. Palladium is the layer’s dominant metal, but platinum is also found. The layer was discovered during the 1970s, and production commenced in 1987.

Platinum is used mostly in catalytic converters for vehicular pollution control. Low-voltage electrical contracts form the second most common use for platinum, followed closely by dental and medical applications, including dental crowns, and a variety of pins and plates used internally to secure human bones. Platinum is also used as a catalyst in the manufacture of explosives, fertilizer, gasoline, insecticides, paint, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Platinum crucibles are used to melt high-quality optical glass and to grow crystals for computer chips and lasers. Hot glass fibers for insulation and nylon fibers for textiles are extruded through platinum sieves.

Because of their rarity and unique properties, the demand for gold and platinum are expected to continue to increase. Silver is more closely tied to industry, and the demand for silver is expected to rise and fall with economic conditions.

50 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Gold……..

50 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Gold

1. The word “gold” comes from the Old English word “geolu,” meaning yellow.

2. There is more steel created per hour than there has been gold dug up throughout history.

3. Around 161,000 tons of gold have been mined by humans.

4. Gold can be found beneath the earth on all seven continents.

5. It is believed that around 80% of earth’s gold is still buried underground.

6. There is an estimated total of 10 billion tons of gold in the world’s oceans. That is 25 tons of gold for every cubic mile of seawater.

7. The world’s first gold vending machine was unveiled in May 2010. Located in an ultra-luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, the vending machine itself is covered in 24-carat gold.

8. Most western economies’ currencies were on the gold standard until 1961.

9. Switzerland was the last country whose currency was tied to gold. 40% of a Swiss Franc was backed by gold until Switzerland joined the IMF in 1999.10. The gold held at Fort Knox is accounted for by the United States as an asset valued at $44.22 per ounce.

11. As of December 31, 1941 Fort Knox held 649.6 million ounces of gold.

12. Today, Fort Knox  holds about 147.3 million ounces.

13. The size of a standard gold bar is 7″ by 3 and 5/8″ by 1 and 3/4″

14. Alchemists believe they can change ordinary materials, such as lead, into gold.

15. A carat was originally a unit of mass based on the carob seed used by ancient merchants.

16. The most expensive gold coin in the world is the 1933 Double Eagle, which was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2002 for $7.59 million.

17. Elvis Presley owned three cars manufactured by Stutz Motor Company, in which every part that is normally chrome was converted to gold.

18. Former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski bought a gold-threaded shower curtain worth $6,000.

19. A noble metal, gold is prone neither to rust nor tarnish and does not form an oxide film on its surface when coming into contact with ai

20. There are 92 naturally occurring elements found in the earth’s crust. Gold ranks 58th in rarity.

21. The chemical symbol for gold is Au, which is derived from the Latin word “aurum,” which means “shining dawn.”

22. Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be molded with the hands.

23. The melting point of gold is 2,063 degrees Fahrenheit.

24. Gold is a great conductor of electricity.

25. Gold is the most malleable and ductile pure metal known to man.

26. An ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet covering 100 square feet.

27. In 1869, two Australians unearthed the world’s largest nugget of gold, the “Welcome Stranger,” which measured 10 by 25 inches before it was melted down.

28. The largest nugget still in existence is the “Hand of Faith,” found in 1980 in Australia. It is currently on display at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas.

29. A gold nugget found in the earth can be three to four times as valuable as the gold it contains because of its rareness.

30. The heaviest modern gold bullion coin is Austria’s Philharmonic. In 2004, the coin, which has a weight of 1,000 ounces (31.1 kilograms or 69 troy pounds or 828 troy ounces) and a diameter of 15 inches, was dubbed the world’s largest gold coin by Guinness World Records.

31. In 2007, Canada made a 100 kilogram (3,217 troy ounce), 0.99999 gold coin with a face value of $1,000,000.

32. Pure gold does not cause skin irritations.

33. Some sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis receive injections of liquid gold to relieve pain.

34. Olympic gold medals were pure gold until 1912.

35. An ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 60 miles long.

36. Two thirds of the world’s gold comes from South Africa.

37. India is the world’s largest consumer of gold today.

38. South Asian jewelry is generally more pure than western jewelry, comprised of 22 carat gold rather than 14 carat.

39. Gold is the state mineral of California and Alaska.

#-ad_banner_2-#40. 90% of the world’s gold mining has been done since the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848.

41. During the California gold rush, some speculators paid more for an ounce of water than they received for an ounce of gold.

42. South Dakota and Nevada produce more gold than any other states.

43. Scientists believe that gold can be found on Mars, Mercury, and Venus.

44. The visors of astronauts’ helmets are coated in a very thin, transparent layer of gold (.000002 inches) that reduces glare and heat from sunlight.

45. The Aztec word for gold, “teocuitatl,” was translated by Europeans as meaning “excrement of the gods.”

46. According to the legend of El Dorado (the gilded one), an Andean chief who was covered in gold dust would make offerings of gold into a mountain lake.

47. Evidence suggests that around 5,000 B.C., gold and copper became the first metals to be discovered by man.

48. King Croesus of Lydia created the first pure gold coins in 540 B.C.

49. When Franklin Roosevelt raised the price of gold from $20.67 to $35 in 1934, the dollar immediately lost 40% of its value.

50. Henry VIII, Diocletian and Nero were infamous gold debasers, mixing other metals into gold coins and decreasing their value.

Did you know…..Very interesting…….

1. The longest time between two twins being born is 87 days.

2. The world’s deepest postbox is in Susami Bay in Japan. It’s 10 metres underwater.

3. In 2007, an American man named Corey Taylor tried to fake his own death in order to get out of his cell phone contract without paying a fee. It didn’t work.

4. The oldest condoms ever found date back to the 1640s (they were found in a cesspit at Dudley Castle), and were made from animal and fish intestines.

5. In 1923, jockey Frank Hayes won a race at Belmont Park in New York despite being dead — he suffered a heart attack mid-race, but his body stayed in the saddle until his horse crossed the line for a 20–1 outsider victory.

6. Everyone has a unique tongue print, just like fingerprints.

7. Most Muppets are left-handed. (Because most Muppeteers are right-handed, so they operate the head with their favoured hand.)

8. Female kangaroos have three vaginas.

Ian Walton / Getty Images

9. It costs the U.S. Mint almost twice as much to mint each penny and nickel as the coins are actually worth. Taxpayers lost over $100 million in 2013 just through the coins being made.

10. Light doesn’t necessarily travel at the speed of light. The slowest we’ve ever recorded light moving at is 38 mph.

11. Casu marzu is a Sardinian cheese that contains live maggots. The maggots can jump up to five inches out of cheese while you’re eating it, so it’s a good idea to shield it with your hand to stop them jumping into your eyes.

12. The loneliest creature on Earth is a whale who has been calling out for a mate for over two decades — but whose high-pitched voice is so different to other whales that they never respond.

13. The spikes on the end of a stegosaurus’ tail are known among paleontologists as the “thagomizer” — a term coined by cartoonist Gary Larson in a 1982 Far Side drawing.

14. During World War II, the crew of the British submarine HMS Trident kept a fully grown reindeer called Pollyanna aboard their vessel for six weeks (it was a gift from the Russians).

15. The northern leopard frog swallows its prey using its eyes — it uses them to help push food down its throat by retracting them into its head.

16. The first man to urinate on the moon was Buzz Aldrin, shortly after stepping onto the lunar surface.


17. Some fruit flies are genetically resistant to getting drunk — but only if they have an inactive version of a gene scientists have named “happyhour”.

18. Experiments show that male rhesus macaque monkeys will pay to look at pictures of female rhesus macaques’ bottoms.

19. In 1567, the man said to have the longest beard in the world died after he tripped over his beard running away from a fire.

20. The Dance Fever of 1518 was a month-long plague of inexplicable dancing in Strasbourg, in which hundreds of people danced for about a month for no apparent reason. Several of them danced themselves to death.

21. Vladimir Nabokov nearly invented the smiley.

22. In 1993, San Francisco held a referendum over whether a police officer called Bob Geary was allowed to patrol while carrying a ventriloquist’s dummy called Brendan O’Smarty. He was.

23. Sigurd the Mighty, a ninth-century Norse earl of Orkney, was killed by an enemy he had beheaded several hours earlier. He’d tied the man’s head to his horse’s saddle, but while riding home one of its protruding teeth grazed his leg. He died from the infection.

24. The Dutch village of Giethoorn has no roads; its buildings are connected entirely by canals and footbridges.

Flickr: bertknot / Creative Commons

25. A family of people with blue skin lived in Kentucky for many generations. The Fulgates of Troublesome Creek are thought to have gained their blue skin through combination of inbreeding and a rare genetic condition known as methemoglobinemia.

26. Powerful earthquakes can permanently shorten the length of Earth’s day, by moving the spin of the Earth’s axis. The 2011 Japan earthquake knocked 1.8 microseconds off our days. The 2004 Sumatra quake cost us around 6.8 microseconds.

27. The first American film to show a toilet being flushed on screen was Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

28. Melting glaciers and icebergs make a distinctive fizzing noise known as “bergy seltzer”.

29. There is a glacier called “Blood Falls” in Antarctica that regularly pours out red liquid, making it look like the ice is bleeding. (It’s actually oxidised salty water.)

30. In 2008 scientists discovered a new species of bacteria that lives in hairspray.

31. The top of the Eiffel Tower leans away from the sun, as the metal facing the sun heats up and expands. It can move as much as 7 inches.

Flickr: gnuckx / Creative Commons

32. Lt. Col. “Mad” Jack Churchill was only British soldier in WWII known to have killed an enemy soldier with a longbow. “Mad Jack” insisted on going into battle armed with both a medieval bow and a claymore sword.

33. A U.S. park ranger named Roy C. Sullivan held the record for being struck by lightning the most times, having been struck — and surviving — seven times between 1942 and 1977. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot in 1983.

34. The longest musical performance in history is currently taking place in the church of St. Burchardi in Halberstadt, Germany. The performance of John Cage’s “Organ²/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible)” started on Sept. 5, 2001, and is set to finish in 2640. The last time the note changed was October 2013; the next change isn’t due until 2020.

35. There’s an opera house on the U.S.–Canada border where the stage is in one country and half the audience is in another.

36. The tiny parasite Toxoplasma gondii can only breed sexually when in the guts of a cat. To this end, when it infects rats, it changes their behaviour to make them less scared of cats.

37. The katzenklavier (“cat piano”) was a musical instrument made out of cats. Designed by 17th-century German scholar Athanasius Kircher, it consisted of a row of caged cats with different voice pitches, who could be “played” by a keyboardist driving nails into their tails.

38. There is a single mega-colony of ants that spans three continents, covering much of Europe, the west coast of the U.S., and the west coast of Japan.

39. The largest snowflake ever recorded reportedly measured 15 inches across.

40. An epidemic of laughing that lasted almost a year broke out in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1962. Several thousand people were affected, across several villages. It forced a school to close. It wasn’t fun, though — other symptoms included crying, fainting, rashes, and pain.

41. The Romans used to clean and whiten their teeth with urine. Apparently it works. Please don’t do it, though.

42. There are around 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body. If you took them all out and laid them end to end, they’d stretch around the world more than twice. But, seriously, don’t do that either.