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Which is more expensive silver or platinum?


Silver and platinum are both precious metals that have many uses and are highly valuable. But when it comes to price, which of these metals is more expensive? The quick answer is that platinum is more expensive than silver. On average, platinum costs over twice as much per ounce compared to silver. Let’s take a deeper look at the costs and factors that influence the prices of these two metals.

Current Price Per Ounce

As of September 2023, the current prices per ounce are:

Metal Price Per Ounce
Silver $20
Platinum $1,000

Platinum costs around $1,000 per ounce, while silver costs around $20 per ounce. This makes platinum approximately 50 times more expensive than silver per ounce at today’s prices.

10 Year Price Comparison

Looking at prices over the last decade also shows platinum consistently commanding higher prices than silver. Here’s an overview of average annual prices per ounce over the past 10 years:

Year Silver Price Per Ounce Platinum Price Per Ounce
2023 $20 $1,000
2022 $22 $900
2021 $25 $1,100
2020 $19 $900
2019 $17 $850
2018 $15 $800
2017 $17 $950
2016 $17 $1,050
2015 $16 $1,100
2014 $20 $1,400

As the 10 year overview shows, platinum has consistently traded at a premium over silver, with platinum prices ranging from 4.5 to 8 times higher than silver on a per ounce basis. Even at silver’s peak price over the last decade of $25 per ounce in 2021, platinum still commanded more than double the price at $1,100 per ounce.

Factors Influencing Price

Why does platinum cost so much more than silver? There are a few key factors that influence the pricing of these metals:


Platinum is significantly rarer than silver globally. Silver deposits are relatively widespread whereas platinum is very geographically concentrated, mostly in South Africa and Russia. This scarcity means platinum commands a higher value per ounce.

Industrial Demand

Both metals have wide industrial use, but platinum is indispensable for many high-end technologies and industrial processes. Over 50% of platinum demand comes from industrial uses whereas only around 55% of silver demand is industrial. The strong industrial demand for platinum keeps prices high.

Investment Demand

Platinum and silver are both used as investment assets. But platinum is seen as more precious and long-term due to its rarity, helping support its higher pricing. Silver is more widely traded by speculators looking to profit from volatility.

Production Costs

It is significantly more expensive to mine and process platinum ore compared to silver ore. Platinum’s rarity means it takes large amounts of ore to produce small amounts of pure platinum. This intensive production process adds to end costs.

Pricing Over Time

Looking further back over the past few decades shows platinum historically trading at a premium to silver. But there have been periods where silver has outpaced platinum in price gains thanks to investor interest in silver. Here is a quick overview:

  • 1970s – Platinum averages 2-3 times higher pricing than silver
  • 1980s – Platinum prices surge 4-6 times higher than silver
  • 1990s – Platinum trades 2-3 times higher than silver
  • 2000s – Platinum ranges 3-8 times higher priced than silver
  • 2010s – Silver gains attract investor interest, platinum premium shrinks to 2-4 times over silver

While short-term movements have varied, platinum has almost always commanded significantly higher prices than silver when viewed over the long run.

Current Production Levels

To put the rarity of platinum into perspective, here’s a look at current global production levels:

Metal Annual Global Production (in ounces)
Silver 878 million
Platinum 6.2 million

Silver production is over 140 times higher than platinum production globally. This massive difference in production adds to platinum’s price premium due to its relative rarity.

Other Cost Differences

Beyond just the market prices of silver and platinum, there are some other cost considerations when comparing the metals:

Jewelry Costs

In jewelry, platinum pieces usually cost substantially more than silver pieces. Platinum jewelry commands a higher price not only due to the cost of the raw platinum metal, but also because of its rarity and prestige. The intricate production process for platinum jewelry also adds to costs.

Investment Coin/Bar Costs

Investment coins and bars in platinum carry large premiums over the raw platinum price. Most platinum coins have collectible value, and fabrication and distribution costs are high relative to the amount of raw platinum they contain. Silver coins and bars are generally closer to the silver spot price.

Futures Trading Costs

For commodities traders, platinum futures contracts require more upfront capital than silver contracts. The initial margin requirements for platinum are approximately 5 times greater than silver futures. This greater capital requirement makes platinum trading inaccessible for some smaller investors and traders.

Usage in Industry

One of the key factors supporting platinum’s higher pricing is its diverse uses across many essential high-tech industries:


Platinum’s resistance to high temperatures makes it very useful in automotive catalytic converters. Over 40% of platinum supply goes to vehicle emissions control devices. It helps reduce harmful emissions from fossil fuel engines.


The chemical industry utilizes platinum’s catalytic abilities in the production of silicone, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals amongst other chemicals. Its non-reactive properties also make it useful for laboratory equipment.


Platinum’s electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion leads to use in hard disks, multi-layered computer chips, and other computing applications. It is also used in LEDs and liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Petroleum and Glass

Platinum is used in the refining of crude oil into gasoline and other fuels. It also finds applications in fiber glass production due to its heat resistance.


Platinum’s bio-compatibility allows for use in pacemakers, stents, and other implanted medical devices. It is also used in cancer treatment.


In summary, platinum consistently commands prices over twice as high as silver due to its relative rarity, higher production costs, and critical applications across many high-value industries. While silver has at times seen larger price gains in percentage terms, platinum’s higher base pricing means it retains a significant premium over silver in absolute dollar terms. And current market conditions continue to support higher average pricing for platinum over both the short-term and long-run. So when it comes to comparing the costs of the two metals, platinum remains clearly in the more expensive camp.