Precious metals are rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical elements of high economic value. Chemically, the precious metals tend to be less reactive than most elements. They are usually ductile and have a high lustre.
Historically, precious metals were important as currency but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.
The best known precious metals are the coinage metals, which are gold and silver. Although both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewelry, and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.
The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.