When it comes to finding that perfect piece of jewelry, many of us are concerned with the dazzling gem (or gems, depending on the size of your wallet). Much of the time, settings, bands and chains end up playing second fiddle to the sparkling jewels they hold.
However, there's a reason your neighbor hides his gold coins, and your dad locks the family silverware in a safe. Gold and silver are two extremely valuable metals -- deemed as precious because of their rarity, socioeconomic importance, non-reactivity and ability to withstand corrosive and oxidative forces [source: Swanson]. From year to year, even month to month, prices of these valuable metals fluctuate greatly.
Besides looking great around someone's neck or finger, these valuable metals also have industrial purposes. For example, platinum-group metals are used to create lab equipment, dental materials and electronics [source: Loferski]. Precious, or valuable, metals also serve as a means of investment as these commodity prices have continued to rise over the years. It's important to note that the common unit of weight for precious metals is the troy ounce -- equivalent to 1.1 standard ounces or .031 kilograms [source: BullionVault].
Let's take a look at the most valuable metals around and what makes them so special. Up first: a metal that cries when it gets bent out of shape.