In metallurgy, an ingot is typically defined as a bar or plate of metal; precious metals such as silver are often shaped into ingots of specific weights to serve as a store of value.
Silver ingots are mainly used as a store of value for silver as a commodity; for instance, an investor interested in silver might buy several ingots with the intent to sell them at a future date.
Although ingots typically refer to metal bars, the term sometimes represents rounds or coinage; more often, rounds and coinage are referred to as coins or bullion.
The size of silver ingots can vary significantly; one might weigh only a few ounces, whereas large bars can weigh 1,000 oz. or more.
Ingots are beneficial in that they are often formed into weights, which allows for easy counting of large amounts of precious metal.
Other precious metals such as gold and platinum are also commonly formed into ingots.
Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.