Contrary to gold coins, the preferred choice of most people, large gold bars are mainly used by central banks and large holding institutions, since their size makes them very costly, whereas individual investors will likely buy 1oz to 10oz bars or even smaller ones. Sovereign countries have gold reserves as insurance against the loss of value of paper currencies, and as collateral for borrowing, among other reasons. Even though the current international monetary system is not backed by gold, gold plays a crucial role in the financial sector, being the only asset that cannot be created out of thin air, like printed currencies.
Switzerland has had a love affair with gold that dates back centuries, and 70% of the gold worldwide goes through a swiss refinery. Here are some of the largest refineries in Switzerland :
Valcambi was founded by a group of Swiss investors interested in the precious metals business more than 50 years ago. It is now owned by European Gold Refineries, which is owned in part by Newmont Mining and by some of the founding private investors.
Valcambi produces Good Delivery gold bars of 400oz, 1,000g, 500g, 250g, 10 tolas, 100g, 5 tolas, and 50g, as well as Good Delivery silver, platinum and palladium bars.
They also produce minted gold bars with the Valcambi suisse seal of 1,000g, 500g, 250g, 100g, 50g, 1oz, 20g, 10g, 5g, 2.5g, 1g, plus the famous divisible Valcambi 50g and 20g combi-bars. Plus, they also mint silver and platinum bars in weights of 1,000g, 500g, 100g, 50g and 1oz.
One of the oldest and most reputable refineries in Switzerland, Metalor really started producing gold bars for banks in 1918, when it was taken over by SBS. It became Metalor Technologies in April, 2001.
Metalor produces Good London Delivery bars in gold, silver, platinum and palladium. The gold bars produced go mainly to banks and other financial institutions, while other products go for industrial purposes.
Established for more than 90 years, Rand has refined close to 50,000 tonnes of gold since 1920.
Rand produces Good Delivery gold bars of 400oz, 1,000g and 100oz, as well as Good Delivery silver bars of 1,000oz. They also produce smaller bars weighing 1kg and less with the official stamp of Rand Refinery.
They produce minted (0.9999) bars of 10g, 50g and 100g.
They also produce the world-famous Krugerrands, the first 1oz-denominated gold, now in 1oz, ½oz, ¼oz and 1/10oz coins.
Another leading bullion producer, Pamp specialises in artistic design of bars, such as the classic Lady Fortuna, and coins. They produce cast bullion as specified by customers and minted ingots in gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Their Lady Fortuna, for instance, is available in gold and silver in all sizes imaginable.
They are also official distributor of bullion coins for the world’s most prestigious mints.