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The Most Precious Metal

The Most Precious Metal

Iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, platinum, silver, and gold are among the precious metals on the periodic table of elements. Now that some of these metals are being used more strategically to meet our needs, their value is rising. Rhodium is the one precious metal that is consistently valued higher than the rest.

Precious metals play an important role in our lives because they are present in small amounts in many of the devices we use daily. The mobile device you’re using right now for example contains precious metals. In fact, the average smartphone contains small amounts of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.


Rhodium is the most valuable of the precious metals, with prices far exceeding those of gold. It’s incredibly rare. Globally, approximately 748,000 ounces of rhodium are estimated to exist as of 2021. Rhodium is only mined in South Africa, Russia, and Canada due to its resistance to corrosion and heat. 

Rhodium is used for essential applications like the catalytic converter on your internal combustion engine car. This converter is responsible for breathable air with the millions of gasoline powered vehicles constantly moving all around the world. The Rhodium located inside these converters along with other precious metal work to catalyze the toxic exhaust that is being emitted throughout your vehicle therefore making the exhaust breathable. Around 80% of the world’s Rhodium is used as one of the catalysts in a three-way catalytic converter in automobiles

Why people steal catalytic converters?

As most people have heard on the news, catalytic converters are being stolen all over the place. So, what motivates someone to commit this crime? Catalytic converters are stolen because of the amount of precious metal contained within. As previously stated, rhodium, the most valuable precious metal, is contained within the catalyst and aids in the detoxification efforts of our car’s exhaust gases. But if that wasn’t enough to make these common automotive components desirable to criminals, palladium and platinum are the other two metals within the converter responsible for making our car emissions less toxic. Palladium is the second most valuable precious metal in the world. Platinum, which is primarily used in jewelry, is also extremely valuable. Due to its high level of resistance, platinum is more commonly found than the other two and is used for a variety of weapons, aeronautics, and dental equipment.

Why Rhodium is so expensive?

Rhodium is extremely valuable due to its scarcity, application, and mining location.

Rhodium is a very rare metal.

When we compare the other precious metal markets Rhodium is actually a very small one with over 80% of this metal coming from South Africa alone. Since most of this Rhodium is mined in South Africa every change in that market can have a large impact. Consider what would happen if a mine closed, a global pandemic occurred, or if South Africa had a strained relationship with the US. Rhodium’s price may rise significantly because there are very few places to find it otherwise.

Now that you are familiar with Rhodium and its immense value, you can appreciate your gas-powered vehicles’ catalytic converter even more. This precious metal is working hard with Platinum and Palladium to keep our air clean from your car’s exhaust.


1. “Who Is Buying Rhodium? Why Is Rhodium So Valuable? – The World Financial Review.” The World Financial Review, Worldfinancialreview.com, 14 January. 2021,

https://worldfinancialreview.com/who-is-buying-rhodium-why-is-rhodium-so valuable/#:~:text=Why%20is%20Rhodium%20Valuable%3F,just%20makes%20rhodium%20even%20rarer..

2. Kulkarni, Sneha. “10 Most Precious Metals In the World – Goodreturns.” Https://www.goodreturns.in/, Www.goodreturns.in, 21 November. 2021, https://www.goodreturns.in/personal-finance/investment/10-most-precious-metals-in-the-world/articlecontent-pf25910-1230896.html.


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