Unsupervised machine learning can interpret logarithmic returns and conditional volatility in commodity markets. This article applies machine learning in order to visualize and interpret log returns and conditional volatility in commodities trading. We emphasize two classes of unsupervised learning methods: clustering and manifold learning for the reduction of dimensionality. We source daily prices from September 18, 2000 through July 31, 2020, for precious metals, base metals), energy commodities and agricultural commodities. Our results highlight that at the very least, returns-based clusters conform more closely to traditional boundaries between precious metals, base metals, fuels, temperate-climate agricultural commodities, and tropical agricultural commodities. On the other hand, volatility-based clustering succeeds in identifying periods of extreme market distress, such as the global financial crisis of 2008–09 and the Covid-19 pandemic.