Precious metals are a strange group of elements, placed into this group primarily by their net value compared to other, similar metals. Gold, for instance, though not hugely valuable for practical reasons, has a lot of value in a cultural and financial context, and thus is considered precious. Though their value is somewhat arbitrary on an everyday level, all of these different metals, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium have some niche and truly bizarre uses that give them a certain minimum value. So, let’s give some stage-time to a few of the weirdest uses for these iconic elements.

Gold for Retirement

It may be obvious to financial types that gold is an important metal for investments, but to most people, IRA accounts take the form of a number. That number you constantly invest into, and then when you get old that’s what you have to fall back on. Unfortunately for those who wish to keep finances simple, IRA accounts can also involve gold. When you create an account like this, you can choose to invest in something physical.

Like a lot of investment strategies it has its quirks and faults, and you can seek Goldco precious metals review if you want to know more. But, if you do your own research you will find that often gold can offset the cost of a severe economic downturn. It is the common equivalent of hedging your bets financially, and oftentimes when times are tough physical objects by their nature get the edge in terms of value.

This isn’t to necessarily say that this is a particularly surprising factoid, but if you want to diversify it may be worth knowing. Gold is strange because any use for it in the industry is likely to be phased out ASAP. After all, who wants to be the guy who tells the CEO that you need a ton of gold to actually perform a largescale industrial activity? It’s expensive, culturally significant, and socially valuable, and for that reason, it gets a boost.

Platinum Turbine Coating

Platinum is a weird third precious metal that combines the silvery texture and color of, well, silver, with the high worth of gold. Platinum-group metals are all extremely valuable because of their rarity, but elements like platinum and palladium have industrial uses as well. One of the biggest uses for platinum in the industry is as a coating for turbines.

This group of metals is relatively inert in most cases, and resilient in others, combining a strange set of traits that are lacking in other, similarly valuable, metals. Don’t think about scraping off a wind turbine blade though for money, they’re constantly moving fast and even the thickest coatings are only a few microns thick, hardly worth the effort. Even still, improving the lifetime of these highly complex, lightweight, and dynamic systems is worth the money paid towards platinum.

In engineering, often the costs of a particular highly valuable metal are worth paying because of a metal’s unique properties. On industrial scales, you need to be mindful of quantity since even a minor change in amount can be visualized as skyscraper-sized cubes in the abstract, but wind turbines, need to be light, resilient, and not able to break apart due to distinct weather-based atrophy. For that job, there is only one answer, and for any questions relating to the cost, you can refer them to the many, many wind-turbine-based accidents created out of poorly maintained equipment.

Silver as a Water Purifier

Of all the precious metals, silver may be the least precious among them. With a price that generally falls significantly below other similarly culturally significant elements, it may seem strange then to realize that silver has innately anti-bacterial qualities. Silver has been used as a serious water purifier in many different cases, though possibly isotopes containing silver can also be used on solid objects.

When silver is placed in a very strange monoatomic state, it becomes Ag+, which itself is anti-microbial. Most elements have a similarly fringe use for their properties, but if you want to learn more about silver’s strange qualities click here for a better view. Studies have documented silver as a fix for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and technology is constantly improving to fight these dastardly microbes all the time, so the next time you go to the doctor’s office you may be seeing silver in more places than you realize.

Alloys a Dozen

Palladium is a lesser-known element and is often paired with an asterisk when it comes to major precious metals. Though it is lesser-known, it is no less valuable and often sneaks up to gold and platinum levels when times are tough. One of the biggest uses for palladium is as a catalyst to speed up reactions, but one of its weirdest subjects of use is as the base for an alloy. White gold is a beautiful combination of gold and palladium and can look absolutely stunning at the best of times, and unique at the worst.

It may not be the biggest topic of conversation on its own, but combined with other metals palladium can shine as a truly exceptional jewelry piece. This may be the only precious metal where its common use is in industry, and it’s the exception when you start to throw it in jewelry, but this is no insult to the element, we may have just forgotten about its potential.

In general, precious metals have a huge array of uses and possibilities when arrayed even against cheaper elements like copper and iron. Their cost, rarity, and visual appeal have made them worth so much, but at their core, they have their own special properties that may justify their cost. Don’t get me wrong, gold prices can get ridiculous, but if there was an ingot of gold in front of you, wouldn’t you grab it? Even the most ideologically driven can only go so far when the absurd dollar amount per ounce is presented directly to them, and this may be a sign of the importance of their non-financial uses.