Which is more scarce: gold or silver?

iStock_000004419564XSmall[1]Q: Is gold actually more scarce than silver? 

A: Surprisingly, silver is more scarce than gold! Silver reserves are estimated to be approximately 500 million ounces available above ground compared to around 2 billion ounces of gold. This alone makes silver something of an anomaly considering that gold is valued at around 50 times the price of silver.

Some experts predict we’ll run out of silver in the next 10 years because of its expanding usages in high-tech manufacturing. Silver is the most electrically conductive, thermally conductive, and reflective metal on the planet. It’s truly a miracle metal and is used in everything from solar panels to cell phones, as well as a host of medical devices, because of its antibacterial properties. It’s even used in a line of clothing at Lululemon!

Eighty-five percent of all the gold that has ever been pulled out of the ground is still available in the form of jewelry, coins, and bars. Gold gets recycled and effectively stays in circulation, while the silver tied up in manufactured goods regularly ends up in the trash heap.

There is less investment grade silver available for investors than there is gold. In 2012, there was only enough investment grade silver available for each person on earth to have one tenth of an ounce, while there was enough investment grade gold available for every person to have one third of an ounce.