While JM Bullion has long offered investors the opportunity to purchase well-known and popular precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, we also strive to provide variety and countless options to our buyers. With other metals such as copper already a long-standing option for buyers, there are other lesser-known and rare metals out there that are becoming increasingly common in bar and round collections. Below, you can learn about some of these more unique metals coming to our collection.
Niobium is a transition metal that is very ductile and light grey in color. It has a crystalline appearance and is a very strong metal with a hardness rating similar to that of titanium. When thin layers of oxide are applied through anodization to a niobium bar, the resulting appearance is brilliant in its range of possible colors. Previously known as columbium, niobium is named for the mythological Greek figure Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus, who happens to be the namesake for tantalum, a metal that niobium was initially mistaken for in the 19th century. The world’s largest producer of niobium is Brazil and its industrial applications are largely confined to an alloy in specialized steel such as the kind used in gas pipelines.
As mentioned above, tantalum is named for the mythological Greek figure Tantalus. A rare metal, tantalum is surprisingly found in various regions around the world. There are natural deposits in several countries on the African continent, from central Africa to both the West Coast and Horn of Africa regions. Tantalum is also found in Australia, Brazil, and China. The metal itself is a hard, blue-grey transition metal that is lustrous in appearance and highly resistant to corrosion.
Nickel is a transition metal that is hard and ductile. What makes nickel unique is that some of the world’s known deposits of nickel come from meteor impacts with the Earth. Nickel is often alloyed with iron as the two most important metals in the production of steel. Millions of tons of nickel are mined around the world each year, with Asia being one of the primary regions of the world for nickel mining. Other major deposits include the Sudbury region in Canada and the Norilsk complex in Russia.
Cobalt is much like nickel in that it is hard and lustrous, as well as ductile. Historically, cobalt minerals have been used in artistic applications to provide blue colorization. In the modern era, cobalt is used in a variety of different alloy combinations for the production of strong steel and in the manufacture of power tools. Much of the world’s supply, as much as 90% by some estimates, comes from Central Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo accounts for as much as 50% of the world’s supply of this valuable metal.
A soft metal that is light yellow in color, ytterbium is not widely used across many industries at the moment. The vast majority of the world’s ytterbium is used to create high-intensity lasers. The low demand for ytterbium in this industry is a benefit because there is a low global supply of ytterbium. Most ytterbium is mined in China, the United States, India, and Brazil.
Silver-white in appearance, indium is a post-transition metal that is the softest metal in the world outside the alkali metal group. Unlike some of the other rare metals covered in this category, indium has the distinction of being a semi-precious metal that has long-term potential as a bullion piece for investors. Most estimates on the world’s supply of indium put its occurrence in the Earth’s crust on the level of silver, with only 300 tons of indium mined each year.
Rhenium is a silvery-white metal with one of the highest melting points of all elements. It is primarily used in high-temperature applications, such as jet engines, catalytic converters, and electrical contacts.
Germanium is a brittle, grayish-white metalloid. It is used in semiconductor technology, infrared optics, fiber optics, and solar cells. Germanium is also utilized in some alloys and as a catalyst.
Silicon is a crucial component in electronics and is widely used in semiconductors, solar cells, and computer chips. It is the second most abundant element on Earth and is a key building block of modern technology.
Tellurium is a brittle, silver-white metalloid. It finds applications in the production of solar cells, thermoelectric devices, rewritable optical discs, and in some alloys. It also possesses unique properties as a semiconductor.
Chromium is a lustrous, hard metal commonly used in the production of stainless steel. It provides corrosion resistance, enhances durability, and imparts a shiny appearance to various products, including kitchen utensils and automotive parts.
Bismuth is a brittle, crystalline metal with a pinkish hue. It is used in a variety of applications, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and pigments. Bismuth also has low toxicity, making it suitable for certain medical applications.
Zirconium is a strong, corrosion-resistant metal that is frequently employed in nuclear reactors, chemical processing equipment, and surgical instruments. It is valued for its resistance to corrosion and heat, as well as its ability to form strong alloys.
Tungsten is a dense, grayish-white metal known for its exceptional strength and high melting point. It is widely used in electrical contacts, light bulb filaments, cutting tools, and various high-temperature applications.
Tin is a malleable, silvery-white metal often used as a coating for other metals to prevent corrosion. It is utilized in the production of solder, food packaging, and as an alloying element in bronze.
Carbon is a versatile element found in various forms, including diamonds, graphite, and carbon nanotubes. It has numerous applications, such as in steel production, energy storage, electronics, and as a building block of organic compounds.
Iron is a common and abundant metal that is extensively used in construction, machinery, transportation, and the production of steel. It is known for its strength, durability, and magnetic properties.
Molybdenum is a silvery-white metal with a high melting point. It is primarily used as an alloying element in steel to enhance its strength and corrosion resistance. Molybdenum is also utilized in electrical contacts and certain catalysts.
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