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There are many types of investments to choose from. Most people are aware of investments in stocks and bonds or real estate. One of the best investments that can be made is in precious metals. Buying precious metals has proven to be a good way to diversify an investment portfolio. Precious metals make strong investments because they have intrinsic value. For that reason, they are considered a good choice as an addition to other investments – their value is unlikely to dip too low.

If you’re new to buying precious metals there are very few things to know. The most important consideration is to understand how supply and demand impact prices. The popular precious metals include silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. Investments can be made by purchasing coins, bullion bars, or certificates. Of these, certificates are the most convenient. If you’re going to invest in coins or bullion, you’ll need to have a safe with room available to accommodate them.

Silver
Silver is one of the most popular precious metals for collection and investment. Silver is the precious metal with lowest value, making it very appealing to first time buyers. It is one of the most widely available metals and it is used in many various industries. It’s also quite commonly used as currency. Because it has many uses, it is always in high demand. When buying precious metals, silver is certainly a top choice. Silver coins and bars are the most popular forms of investment. The price of silver dropped in 2011, but the prices have since been increasing. Experts believe silver prices will increase by 20% yearly for the next 5 to 10 years.

Gold
According to the World Gold Council, about 60% of all gold is used for jewelry. In addition to jewelry, gold is also used in the manufacture of many items such as electrical and dental products. Gold has been used for centuries as currency as well as a display of wealth. Gold is measured in karats. A piece of 14K jewelry contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals. Gold is a soft metal, so combining it with another metal improves its strength. When buying precious metals, gold is a popular choice for many investors. Gold is reasonably priced and is available primarily in the form of coins and bullion bars.

Platinum
Platinum is one of the most useful of all precious metals. When buying precious metals, platinum is a good alternative to gold. There are many uses for platinum, making it in very high demand. It’s rarer than gold, yet it’s used in many industries. Platinum is a main component in catalytic converters because it prevents toxins from being emitted into the environment. Because it doesn’t tarnish, it is often used in place of silver. Platinum is hypoallergenic, so it’s used quite readily in dental and medical instruments. Because of the high demand, prices are expected to continue to rise in the foreseeable future. Platinum for investment can be purchased in the form of coins, bullion, or certificates.

Palladium
Palladium is one of the more recent additions to investment portfolios. With most of the palladium mines located in Russia, there is some concern with investors about how that can affect prices. Currently, there is no problem with palladium; however, there is no guarantee about the future. Palladium is the most expensive of the precious metals and is the rarest. For these reasons, the price of palladium will most assuredly increase. When buying precious metals, palladium may be considered the riskiest investment. Yet the potential for profit is the highest of the investment metals.