Precious metals investments go up and down in price, just like any other investment. While prices have dropped since reaching their peaks years ago, they are showing promising upward movement at the moment. Part of this hinges on worries about the US economy and, as always, global instability remains an issue that drives investors toward precious metals investments as a way to protect their wealth. There are some precious metals investments that are looking quite attractive at the moment, given that they can perform well in good and bad economies.

The Gold and Silver Standards
The most common precious metals investments are gold and silver. These have both proven to be able to perform well in bad economies. In the case of silver, it can also perform well in a good economy, given that the material is used in many different manufacturing processes. There is also very little silver on the market to be traded, even though it is quite common compared to gold.

Normally, silver trades against gold at a 15:1 ratio. When that ratio isn’t being met, investors generally believe that it will balance out. Right now, gold isn’t trading at its normal level relative to this ratio, so many investors believe that it’s inevitable that gold will go up in price.

Silver, on the other hand, costs approximately $20 per ounce to produce. Because of this, companies that produce silver wouldn’t be able to sustain themselves if the price were to drop below that level. This has made silver popular among the various precious metals investments as, with the price close to $20 per ounce, it seems inevitable that it will rise again soon.

Platinum and Palladium
Platinum and palladium are good investments in many regards. These precious metals investments are a bit different than gold and silver, however. Both of these metals have been traded on the market for far less time than gold and silver. The metals are primarily used for industrial purposes—automobile manufacturers are major consumers—but they do have some of the same coinage and art applications as gold and silver, though not to the same extent.

Gold and silver are both metals that have been traded for thousands of years, giving them quite a bit of prestige on the markets. Platinum and palladium, however, have become popular as precious metals investments because of their practical uses, their scarcity and the fact that, in the case of platinum, these metals can achieve very high price values. In fact, platinum is usually worth more than gold on the markets. It’s very rare, very hard to produce and that makes it exceptionally valuable.

How People Invest
There are several different ways that people can make precious metals investments. Many people buy what are called ETFs. These trade in a very similar fashion to stocks, are highly liquid and are easy to work with. There are even day traders who trade futures in precious metals as ways of making a quick buck.

Some people prefer to buy stock in mining companies and this does have some advantages. It’s a way to invest in a company rather than a commodity and not all investors want to get into the commodities market, giving this option some followers.

Purchasing physical metal is the other option for precious metals investments. This means purchasing bullion, whether it is in ingot form or coin form and holding onto it. This is usually preferable for people who are investing for the long term, as it’s easy enough to keep physical metal in a bank vault or even a safe in one’s home.