The Price Of Metal Makes No Sense To Me

Until I started shopping for jewelry this past week I didn’t pay much attention to the price of precious metals. Certainly not to the relative prices of precious metals, although I was vaguely aware that gold was very expensive these days and that certain less-than-trustworthy characters were cheering it on.

But today I learned that gold is almost three times as expensive as palladium, and in fact almost as expensive as platinum. The price of non-precious metals like copper and aluminum has sunk with the economy, and the price of platinum, which has both industrial and jewelry applications, is cheaper than it was a year or two ago. Only gold, which is not really that useful, has risen.

This seems totally wrong to me. Can anyone explain?

8 thoughts on “The Price Of Metal Makes No Sense To Me”

  1. Gold is still the international currency. Countries mostly hold gold (not platinum or palladium) and investors buy gold.

    This is good information, as I’m doing some jewelry shopping as well, as hadn’t yet looked at prices for the popular metals.

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  2. Because, over time, gold has more or less kept its value whereas currencies get debased. Also, if shit ever truly hit the fan it’d be great to have some—most of the other means of investment and retention of value would be far less useful. So my understanding is that the price of gold is largely a function of two things: how likely people think the shit is to hit the fan and how likely serious inflation is to occur.

    The latter’s more heavily weighted, and with good reason. Inflation in the not too distant future is likely.

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  3. I don’t know either, because silver has gone down as well. I tried selling some jewelry recently (yes the tv hype got me to at least try) and the silver was almost worthless, and the gold was worth much more. I did find out that they can now use some sort of ultraviolet light to determine whether something is gold or not. Sure beats the old method of taking a chomp and taste of the metal to determine its value. Not only does metal taste bad, its just not sanitary.

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  4. I’m surprised that metals are expensive in general! I’d think that things people need, like food, water, and soap, would be the most expensive thing in teh market these days beacuse of such high demand. You can’t eat metal! Metal is cold, metallicy, and hard. You can’t bathe in metal either! So what use is it?

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  5. I noticed this recently when I was shopping for a necklace for my daughter’s birthday. I ended up thinking that I got a pretty good deal, but once I got it home and was looking at it, it didn’t look so great.

    My husband did the old tried and true taste test. He said it tasted metallicy but wasn’t sure if it was right. After tasting my gold wedding band, we realized that what we got wasn’t real gold!

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  6. No. The silver standard was used in the 19th Century (for things like the British Pound Sterling, I think….). After disastrous attempts at bimetallism most countries settled on gold for the better part of the 20th century, switching to fiat currency backed solely by its own rarity and the likelihood of government default.

    That’s less risky than it sounds: Gold backed only by its utility for jewelry and electronics is pretty flimsy; it’s a superstitious belief that gold is a store of value that keeps it as expensive as it is.

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