The symbols for gold and silver in the Periodic Table are Au and Ag, respectively. Both of these symbols come from Latin words, Aurum and Argentum which were adapted from earlier languages.
For much of human history, though, these two elements have been seen as more than just minerals found in the dirt. Most cultures have used them as currency, including the US.
While the US isn’t on the gold standard anymore, investing in gold and silver is still a great idea and can be very lucrative. We’ll discuss the current state of the market and how to navigate it in this article.
Silver and the Market
Gold and silver are very different in form and how they play into the economy. Both of them are precious metals, but they have very different uses.
Silver is a very important material because of how well it conducts electricity. It’s the most conductive metal, making it perfect for use in electronics and other technologies. Unfortunately, this makes it inconsistent in terms of value.
In a healthy economy, silver is precious, both as jewelry and as a resource. Business is booming, more products are coming off the line, and more resources are needed to make it work. In a struggling economy, products aren’t selling as well, so fewer will be made and fewer resources will be required.
Gold and the Market
While silver is prone to change, gold is much more stable. This is because gold is, in a certain sense, useless.
Gold is a beautiful metal and near-impervious to rust, but there’s not much else gold can do that another metal can’t do better. It’s not great at conducting electricity, nor is it exceptionally durable, so industries have very little use for it.
The upside of this is that the value of gold doesn’t change much. Since industries are never going to need more or less of it, it isn’t affected much by market changes.
Market forces don’t do much to the value of gold, but gold can still range in value. This has to do with purity. You may have heard of something known as 24-karat gold.
24-karat is pure gold and is the most valuable form there is. Pure gold is hard to find, though, and it’s easy to damage. For these reasons, gold is often mixed, or alloyed, with other metals, which reduces its value, but also makes the jewelry much more practical.
Gold is often alloyed with either more grayish metals like tin or with copper. While tin and other metals will dull the gold, copper will tinge it red. This creates what’s known as rose gold.
What to Know About Investing in Gold and Silver
Investing in gold and silver can be an excellent choice if you know what you’re doing. Gold and silver are two very different entities, and each offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
We’ve talked about what determines the value of gold and silver here, but there’s plenty more information on our blog. You can even contact us if you want to get into the precious metals market.