Crown ethers are gaining importance in separation technology specifically for rare earth elements (REEs, La to Lu plus Y) and precious metals (Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, Rh and Ir) due to their specific binding ability, metal complex stability and high extraction efficiency. The selectivity of crown ethers in extraction of these metals depends on different factors, including the cavity diameter and nature of a donor atom of the crown ether, size and charge of the metal ion, diluents and counter ion. Demand for strategic REEs and precious metals are consistently increasing in the world while the separation of these metals is most challenging tasks. In this paper, the use of crown ethers in separation of REEs and precious metals, reaction mechanisms and simplified process flowsheets will be elucidated. New reagents with high selectivity for the separation of these metals are further expected to produce high purity metals.