Precious metals are primarily metallic elements of the Periodic Table. The characteristic "precious" that possess some metals comes from its rarity and its high demand compared to its offer. This characteristic,through the ages, has evolved and could have been attributed to some metals that don't bear this qualifier today. Today, the major precious metals are gold (Au), silver (Ag), platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rd) and palladium (Pd).
The precious metals are widely used. In addition to jewelry and art, they are used in the automotive industry, in the chemical industry, in electricity, in electronics and in the medical sector.
The price of precious metals fluctuates constantly over time, following supply and demand. The rarity will influence fluctuating upward while the improvement of techniques will influence downward.