Iridium vs Gold: What’s the Best Investment?

Unobtanium

“Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.” That is the downbeat verdict of the great investor Warren Buffett on the yellow metal. I have some sympathy with his point of view.

Ezekiel 7:19

They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD’s wrath. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it, for it has made them stumble into sin.

Unobtainium Avatar

Iridium, used in spark plugs and for growing metal oxide crystals, climbed to the highest price in at least a decade as consumption increased. Iridium’s gain this year has outperformed gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

Iridium is the chemical element whose atomic number is 77 and is represented by the symbol Ir. It is one of the most expensive metals in the world which has various colors, including a very-hard-brittle silvery white. It is both the second densest element and the most corrosion-resistant metal.

Much mad science uses unobtanium. The most common varieties of unobtainium in fiction sit somewhere in the middle, like materials so resistant to heat and/or damage as to be Nigh Invulnerable compared to other, similar substances. Materials such as mithril, adamantium and orichalcum (and all variant spellings thereof) are the fantasy version. Thunderbolt Iron is especially popular in fiction (and has some basis in reality — until blast furnaces were invented it was the best source of refined iron).

Precious metals are heavy. Iridium is the densest known terrestrial substance at 22.65 grams/cm3. That’s twice the density of lead or 8 times that of granite. A cube of iridium 6 inches on a side (15 cm) would weigh as much as an average adult human.

The mysterious and unexpected Rhodium price bubble of 2008 suddenly increased prices from just over $500/oz in late 2006 to $9,000/oz-$9,500/oz in July 2008, only for the price then to tumble down only $1,000/oz in January 2009. Iridium will follow the same trend.

Unobtanium

The next thousand years is right around the corner. Warren Buffet… take a good look, because he’s the poster child for the next millennium. These people, it’s no mystery where they come from. You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire. You build egos the size of cathedrals. Fiber-optically connect the world to every eager impulse. Grease even the dullest dreams with these dollar-green gold-plated fantasies until every human becomes an aspiring emperor, becomes his own god. Where can you go from there? As we’re scrambling from one deal to the next, who’s got his eye on the planet? As the air thickens, the water sours, even bees’ honey takes on the metallic taste of radioactivity… and it just keeps coming, faster and faster. There’s no chance to think, to prepare; it’s buy futures, sell futures… when there is no future. We got a runaway train, boy. We got a billion Warren Buffet’s all jogging into the future. Every one of them is getting ready to fistfuck God’s ex-planet, lick their fingers clean, as they reach out toward their pristine, cybernetic keyboards to tote up their fucking billable hours. And then it hits home. You got to pay your own way, Warren. It’s a little late in the game to buy out now. Your belly’s too full, your dick is sore, your eyes are bloodshot and you’re screaming for someone to help. But guess what — there’s no one there! You’re all alone, Warren. You’re God’s special little creature. Maybe it’s true. Maybe God threw the dice once too often. Maybe He let us all down.

written and coded by John Milton

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One thought on “Iridium vs Gold: What’s the Best Investment?

  1. Iridium can now actually be bought and sold by investors through an new California company called “preciousmetalpurchase” which specializes in the sale and repurchase of rare industrial metals.

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