Any metals that have high economic value might be considered precious metals. Some of the more popular precious metals include gold, silver, platinum, iridium, rhodium and palladium.
These metals hold an intrinsic value and are valued for their industrial applications. Of course, factors like supply and demand have an effect on gold price, silver price and platinum price and the prices of other precious metals.
Although gold is generally considered the most significant and valuable of the precious metals, the significance of each metal is often influenced by cultural factors. As an example, Japan places gold in lower regard than it does platinum.
In an effort to retain anonymity precious metals are often transferred by investors through the hawala banking system. Hawala banking is the most ancient of all money transferring systems, used for thousands of years primarily among African, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. The private nature of the hawala system is what makes it attractive to investors.