Are you confused about choosing a career path? Well, you have come to the right place. At Totempool, we regularly cover mainstream as well as unconventional career paths for the benefit of our readers. Today, we will look at a career path that many people do not speak about. We will answer the question – Are precious metals a good career path?
What Are Precious Metals?
Precious metals are natural metals that are extremely rare in nature and hence carry a very high economic value. Also, they have a very high luster. They are also not as reactive as other metals.
Gold, silver, platinum, palladium, osmium, rhodium, iridium, rhenium, and ruthenium are some metals that fall under the category of precious metals. There are several reasons that are behind the astronomical demand for these precious metals. This is because they are helpful as an investment. This is especially true for silver and gold.
Why do people hoard precious metals such as gold and silver?
We shall look at some reasons why people like to buy gold and silver here:
Financial Concerns: In times of political instability or financial crisis, gold and silver are seen as a safe store of value.
Inflation: Other investment forms such as stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrencies can fluctuate wildly or depreciate in value. However, gold and silver are assets that always maintain their value. Even if there is a drop in price, it is usually for a short period of time. Also, in the long run, the demand for precious metals is generally inelastic.
Wars: During times of war, savings in the form of gold and silver can be exchanged for food and shelter.
Essential Traits Needed to Become a Precious Metals Worker
Someone who wishes to work with precious metals must have specific characteristics. Firstly, he should possess great powers of concentration. This will enable him to work long hours without getting distracted.
Moreover, his vision must be sharp. Also, he should possess excellent hand-eye coordination and patience. Plus, he must also be great with tools.
He must also know how to distinguish between real jewelry, gemstones, and some worthless imitation.
The importance of good eyesight cannot be stressed enough. A person who works in the precious metals industry needs to focus on minute and intricate details for hours at a stretch.
Although college degrees are not necessary, academic qualifications and design experience are helpful. Most people enter this industry as an apprentice. This gives them the dual advantage of real-world experience and the chance to build their professional network.
Ethics form a big part of this field. Any person working in the precious metals industry should be trustworthy. If one cannot trust a person while working with large amounts of valuable metals like gold, he is not cut out for the industry.
Workers in the precious metals industry perform various tasks and come from diverse educational backgrounds.
Pros and Cons of Investing in Precious Metals
Many people view precious metals as a form of investment. In this section, we will look at the upsides and downsides of investing in precious metals.
Pros of investing in precious metals.
Hedge against inflation.
Precious metals are an ideal investment for retirement or long-term projects. This is because they do not lose their value.
The fact that they do not lose their purchasing power makes them an excellent bet to counter the rising living costs. This is even more so because the scarcity of these precious metals is further driving the prices up. The fact that human society has valued gold tremendously, shows in its relatively stable prices over time.
They diversify your portfolio.
One of the thumb rules of investment is never to place all your bets in a single asset class. The primary reason to invest in precious metals is that they are not correlated to stocks or bonds.
So, the negative movements in these markets do not affect the value of precious metals. On the contrary, these metals tend to do very well in times of a financial downturn in the stock market.
Mining for precious metals is getting more complex every day. This has led to an increase in their demand. Also, there are various uses for precious metals across diverse industries.
Outside of jewelry and fashion accessories, precious metals are used to make electrical filaments, and they are also used in computer hard drives, aircraft, and automobile parts. Additionally, they are used in medical equipment.
Precious metals are tangible assets. So, they will always have some form of intrinsic value. This is not the case with other forms of investments such as stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrencies.
Cons of investing in precious metals.
Not easy to liquidify.
One of the most significant drawbacks of precious metals is that they are not easy to convert into cash. This makes it very difficult to utilize precious metals in times of emergency.
The best one can do is exchange them for other goods. However, if we need cash, precious metals will not come in handy.
Taxes – One of the inescapable evils of modern life. Gold and silver bullions have a higher percentage of capital gains tax in comparison to other assets such as stocks.
Precious metals come with their storage challenges. And this puts them at a greater risk of theft or damage from natural disasters.
However, there is always an option of using a bank safe or bullion storage at a fee.
Job Opportunities in the Precious Metals Industry
Now, we have a basic understanding of precious metals. Also, we have seen the essential qualities that the workers in this industry need. Furthermore, we have also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of investing in precious metals.
Let us now examine one of the most critical aspects of answering the question – Are precious metals a good career path? Yes, we are talking about the job opportunities that this sector offers.
Precious metals broker
A metals broker works with his clientele. This is because a precious metals broker is the one who trades on behalf of his clients. He also needs to have an understanding of the risk involved in the trading of precious metals.
Also, he must be knowledgeable about commodity laws.
His other responsibilities include creating a general sense of awareness about precious metals. Also, he helps people get precious metals at affordable prices. On average, a precious metals broker earns more than $58,000 a year.
Engravers and jewelers typically work together to understand the customer requirements better. These are art professionals who etch text, designs, or images onto various materials. These materials could include glass, precious metals, stone, wood, and so on.
Certain engravers specialize in working with jewelry and precious metals. Also, engravers work with very specific tools. These include steel-rollers and gravers. Engravers earn more than $46,000 annually on average.
Jewelry polishers work in places where jewelry and other precious metals are sold. Their main work is to perform thorough and specialized cleaning. They remove scratches, dirt, blemishes, and other imperfections from jewelry. To do this, they use a variety of tools and sophisticated equipment. This includes both manual and electronic equipment.
Polishers maintain their tools in top-notch condition to ensure that they are consistently achieving constant precision and high quality in their work. The mean salary for jewelry polishers is upwards of $52,000 a year.
Metalworkers are professionals known for their skills in handling precious metals such as gold, silver, or platinum. They might also work with other rare metals. Their primary responsibilities include annealing, casting, soldering, hammering, shaping, or molding metals. They carry out these processes to design beautiful and exquisite items as per the manufacturer's specifications or the jeweler.
Also, they may add chains, joints, or clasps as per the customers’ requirements. Also, metalworkers collaborate with other design professionals to work on complex designs for different ornaments.
They use tools such as drills and scroll saws for this purpose. Metalworkers make more than $52,000 a year on average.
The designers who work with precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, or gemstones are fine jewelry designers. The main tasks of a jewelry designer are selecting, sourcing, or inspecting materials. Also, they spend the majority of their sketching jewelry designs.
The designers either do this manually or make use of digital design software. Jewelry designers also study the quality and durability of different pieces of jewelry.
To gain the necessary experience and access to the best opportunities, designers need to take online courses and attend workshops.
Craft fairs and trade shows are also a great way to build one’s network as a jewelry designer. Their average salaries are in excess of $55,000 a year.
To Conclude: Are Precious Metals A Good Career Path?
A career in precious metals is definitely recommended if you are looking for something other than a typical 9-5 job. Also, the answer to – Are precious metals a good career path is yes if you are looking for a field that values people with a creative bent of mind. This is also the career path for you if you want to explore and learn more about precious metals.
Here we list several industry paths to help you make your choices with solid information before moving to a particular industry:
- Non-durable consumer goods
- Oil and gas
- Business services
- Commercial banking
- Capital goods
- Basic industries
- Real State Investment Trusts
- Health Care
- Metal Fabrication
- Health Insurance
If you are indecisive about the area you want to work, here we list a few functional career paths:
As more industries are published on the website, we will keep updating the list for you.