The Osmium-Institute Germany has announced the global market launch of the precious metal osmium. Headquartered in Baierbrunn, Germany, the Institute acts as the global governing body for the introduction, certification, commercialisation, and international trade with, crystalline osmium. The move is set to provide new opportunities for global jewelry and commodity investment industries, including in Thailand.
A glance at the periodic table reveals that osmium is a precious metal. Besides osmium, the other seven precious metals are platinum, gold, silver, palladium, iridium, rhodium and ruthenium. Everyone is familiar with platinum, gold and silver. Palladium and iridium are less well-known. Rhodium has been available for just a few years as an investment metal in bar form. And ruthenium has proven itself in the market only in late 2017 when it went through an incredible price hike. Osmium is the eighth and therefore the last precious metal.
The special position of osmium in the periodic table and in the market, implies some extraordinary properties. Among all precious metals, osmium is the rarest with the highest density. In addition, its compression and abrasion resistance exceeds even that of diamond. When cooled down, osmium becomes a superconductor, which can transport electricity without loss.
“Only now are people beginning to realise that there are just eight precious metals," says Ingo Wolf, who heads global operations of the Osmium-Institute Germany. “Some may have heard of osmium in the past, but almost no one is able to associate anything specific with this amazing element. With markets now opening up internationally, this is changing rapidly."
Those who have had the opportunity to hold osmium in their hands agree that it is the most beautiful precious metal. The reason is because osmium sparkles. It does so because it consists of millions of tiny crystals bound on a surface. And that is exactly what makes osmium very interesting for the jewelry industry. Incidentally, osmium in its raw form is a poisonous and unspectacular grey powder. However, when crystallised in a manner similar to carbon when making diamonds, osmium changes its crystalline structure. This process renders the osmium non-toxic for temperatures up to 400 degrees Celsius and therefore stable for all practical purposes. Most importantly, the crystallisation imparts a unique lustre, the so-called osmium sparkle, to its surface.
“If you search online you will find a lot about the harmful properties of raw osmium, and these very properties prohibit trade in private and investment markets," explains Mr Wolf. “Crystallisation changes these properties, including the ability to react with other metals. In crystalline form, osmium is absolutely harmless."
Osmium is only available in this crystalline form. It is usually delivered in flat plates and then cut into bespoke shapes, which can be processed into jewelry. Because of its distinct reflective properties of blue light, jewelers can also use it as a small circular disc in rings. These small discs are called ‘osmium diamonds’.
With its current price of more than 900 Swiss Francs per gram, osmium is also very expensive. In the future, osmium may yield even higher returns because there are only 9 cubic meters of osmium available in the entire earth’s crust. In 10,000 tons of platinum ore, equivalent to 250 truckloads, only 28 grams of osmium is found during mining.
Many commodity experts expect the so-called ‘Osmium Big Bang’. This refers to the point in time when all recoverable osmium has actually been taken out of the mines. At that moment, osmium will simply disappear from the market. In such a scenario it is likely that its price will increase tenfold.
Angus MacLachlan who is based in Phuket and heads the affiliated Osmium-Institute in Thailand, adds, “Rarity is perhaps the most precious of all values; investors and collectors alike are constantly on the look-out for the opportunity to invest in something rare. But, as the world becomes increasingly exploited, finding something rare is in itself becoming a rare occurrence! This is why we are so excited about osmium, and the opportunity it affords investors in Thailand, because we have something new which is the embodiment of rarity".
However, the osmium market is not for speculators. For this reason, osmium is also referred to as a ‘generation metal’. Forward looking investors leave their purchased osmium untouched and simply pass it on to their children. In the short term, osmium is not that easy to resell because the secondary market is just being established. It is in the jewelry industry where osmium is increasingly being employed, with the most creative jewelry designers being eager to shine with the ‘new’ precious metal and its special properties. This is already being understood in markets such as China and India.
Those who would like to learn more about osmium can do so at one of the Osmium-Institutes around the world. The scientific staff employed by the Institutes are willing to provide any information about osmium, and the Institute is also the guardian of the international database storing the Osmium Identification Code. This database is the central location which holds key information on every piece of this unforgeable metal with its unique crystal structure, including individual certificates of authenticity.
The website www.osmium.info is published, maintained and updated in many different languages by the Osmium-Institute Germany and provides all basic information. Individuals interested in osmium can search for their local Osmium-Institute at www.osmium-institute.com. Those who already own osmium can verify their Osmium Identification Code at www.osmium-jewelry.com to access their individual certificates of authenticity and the current price of their osmium pieces online.
About Osmium-Institute Thailand:
The Osmium-Institute Thailand was established in 2018 to introduce and certify osmium. The institute is located in Phuket, and is affiliated with the Osmium-Institute Germany. It acts as the only entity to import, certify, and market crystalline osmium in Thailand.