A precious metal is a chemical element that exists naturally in limited quantities, less reactive in comparison with most of other elements and considered of high economic value.
Historically precious metal was used as a medium to store economic value and to facilitate its exchange for goods or services, where as in modern days precious metal is considered as a hedging tool against inflation/ economic downturn, and industrial commodity.
The most traded precious metals are the four well known precious metals - gold, silver, platinum and palladium - where each has an ISO 4217 currency code.
Apart from using precious metals in goldsmithing, several forms of precious metals have been produced in bulk known as bullion by way of casting or minting, and valued by their mass and purity.
Cast bars are normally produced directly from a particular melted precious metal by casting (pouring) the melted metal into a mould with appropriate dimensions.
While Central Banks around the world often hold casts at 12.5KG each in large vaults as symbolic backing to their currencies, casts can be found at smaller weights.
Minted bars or ingots are normally cut from cast bars usually with a die to create blanks that have the required dimensions and weight. Such ingots are found minted in many shapes at high purity to serve different purposes. While purity level varies from the common purity of 99.9% to 99.999%, having 100% pure ingot is impossible.
The most well known shapes exist as bars and rounds produced to serve as investment garde products at low premium.
The standard unit (alloy) of precious metal is called a troy ounce, which is measured in mass and fixed at 31.1034768 grams, and priced, accordingly, in the commodity market at a price that is considered to be a reference for transactions taking place in the professional bullion market.
Commonly ingots range in weight from 1 gram to 1KG providing flexible options to save/ invest in precious metals for the purpose of holding as long-term investment as well as hedging tool against inflation and economic downturn.
Rounds of precious metals are usually minted in troy ounce, fraction of troy ounce (1/2Oz, 1/4Oz and 1/10Oz) and grams. When such rounds take the backing of the government of a particular country and get the consideration as legal tender, such rounds are named coins of precious metals with face value of a particular currency.
Good Delivery is a recognised standard accredited by a specialised authority to brands of approved metals promoting the offered goods as acceptable for delivery in the physical market against enforced metal contracts executed through the commodity market.
Good Delivery occurs when all conditions for transferring title of bullion in the physical market from the seller to the buyer have met.
Good Delivery represents the de facto standard for the quality of gold and silver bullion. Each Good Delivery bar is marked with the following:
Normally good delivery gold bars come at weight of 350 to 430 troy ounces of purity above 99.50% where as good delivery silver bars come at weight of 750 to 1,100 troy ounces with purity above 99.90%.
Examples of Good Delivery standards:
Bullion bars that do not comply with Good Delivery rules but look similar to Good Delivery bars are termed Non-Good Delivery "NGD" and must be stamped by the producer with "NGD" to distingush them from confirming bars.