Precious metals can be crystallized via a process called CVT (chemical vapour transport). Crystals form under the usage of energy in a long lasting and extremely sensitive process. As an outcome highly pure crystals (up to 6 nines behind the comma) with stunning and unique structures can be obtained.
Precious metal crystals are a completely new raw material for the luxury industry. In addition to that they have got investment grade character due to their highly deflationary nature coupled with Physics. MetaMetals is creating tradeable products around crystallized PMs.
Have you ever heard about precious metal crystallization? I guess most people are not aware, that it's possible to create astonishing crystals with unique structure, aesthetic shine and exceptional high purity from some of the rarest elements on this planet.
Chemistry and letting a gas flow from A to B; Those things might come to your mind if you read Chemical Vapour Transport (CVT) the first time. Actually that's a quite good summary. A solid, in our case a precious metal, is volatilized in a tube by using a transport agent/gas and heat. The "precious gas" travels along a temperature gradient and if all conditions suit perfectly crystals grow and the colder end of the tube. If you are looking for a recipe, some of the key ingredients are:
– A transport agent + suitable precious metal
– Heat furnace
– Hell of a material scientist + knowledge
Each precious metal requires a whole different set of conditions (temperature, agent), and it's a really sensitive and time consuming process. Crystals grow over many weeks and if the conditions just differ in a minimal way the result will not be satisfying. On top of that only a few people on earth know how to handle the processes.
Here are a few great ressources which might help to understand it better:
– "The transport book"
– Max Planck Institute
The heat furnace requires electrical energy. In our case it's fully powered by renewable Austrian energy sources. Lower Austria is known for many Danube water power plants, wind parks and its rapid expansion of solar power, which even brings the electric grid to its knees in many parts of the state.
Precious metal crystallization is a discipline which brings out the best in scientists - the hunt for the best crystal, the ambition to create even something better each time. If you talk to to a top scientist like my colleague Dr. Alexander Wimmer you can immediately find out which level of knowledge is required to actually make this possible. Skill, knowledge, energy and preservance combined with precious metal market Economics where just a small mistake can cost you a fortune. Peoply randomly stumbling across this matter, sharing our passion can hopefully understand Jesse Pinkman's famous Breaking Bad quote a bit better.
Entropy - It's basically one most elegant concepts in Physics. If correctly applied it opens a door to a deeper understanding about many different fields like Electronics, Thermodynamics or as it is in our case precious metal crystallization. It explains perfectly what precious metal crystallization is about, and how it can actually create something worth to be called an "investment good" if connected to Economics.
But one after the other. Entropy is many times refered as "measure of a systems order/disorder". This might not be the exact formulation Boltzmann's famous formula states, however people like this form, since it's a beautiful way to explain something complicated in easy words. Entropy connects terms like probability and energy with each other. As an Austrian it's a special honor to notice that a former fellow-countryman, Ludwig Boltzmann, shaped this theory. The lower a systems entropy, the more "order" is in the system. Nature by itself tends to not only take in an energetic cheap state, but also the most probably one.
Let's take oxygen atoms as an example: This means for our luck that the atoms we're breathing are not concentrated at one point of a room. No, they are randomly distributed around us and give a concentration which is favourable for live. It's entropy which delivers the explanation. And here is the great message about entropy - we can use energy to bring something in a more ordered state, which wouldn't occur in nature by itself.
Economics can actually be understood via the concept of entropy and it comes even better. It's human nature to bring order into our systems. We build skyscrapers, supercomputers, spaceshuttles, etc. and each of them is quite easy to explain if it comes to entropy: We use energy to bring something in a more ordered/less probable/complex state which wouldn't occur by random (nature) itself. And that's how we can link economy with entropy: Energy. The last step is connecting money with energy. Fiat money is a human constructed value, which is quite obviously not something defined by nature. We tend to take it as a reference to define the price of human workforce and energy. That's it. If you get the concept of supply and demand now, you should be able to understand how the concept of Modern Monetary Theory failed miserably in the last few years, but that's another story.
Comparison to gold
Gold investments can also be understood via entropy, however most people are not directly aware of that fact. Just ask yourself: If I buy an ounce of gold which exact economic cycle am I triggering with my choice? Well all the gold crumbles randomly being distributed in the earth crust, are extracted via the use of energy and brought into a more ordered state. Would this process happen by nature itself? Just with a neglectable probability. So actually you're investing in decreasing the entropy of a certain element in a system. You want to get an orderd state of atoms (gold ounce in your hands).
Why exactly Gold? The precious metal has succeeded to become one of the most serious indicators in human history to bring in a link between the human construct of fiat money and the concept of energy/human workforce. Gold serves as a security valve of this process - If everything in our system would be well, Gold would have less siginificant impact. However if there's a discrepancy between the real physical measure of energy and the figures we use to do business, the valve starts to work. And now we're trying to link that to PM crystallization. I often get asked by people not familiar with precious metal crystallization and even a bit of scepticism: "Why should I buy a crystal, if I could get an ounce of gold." I'd like to return the question: "Why are you satisfied with higher entropy, higher disorder, less purity and something just more probable occuring in nature?" No one could give ma an counterargument to that, because there is no rational explanation.
The last statement which possibly makes sense is: "Well even if you're right, Gold is tradeable, crystallized PMs are not. Gold investment is secure." Let that be the sorrow of MetaMetals. We're in the 21st century and not cavemen anymore. Once you understand that crystallized precious metals have the blessing of Physics on their side - there is no way to get out of this rabbit hole anymore. I personally prefer my PMs crystallized.
Disclaimer: This article is not financial advice. MetaMetals and the authors are not financial advisors. People should seek for independent professional investment council.