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Gold has been an almost universal measure of wealth since it was discovered in the early eras of human civilization. Its value is determined by a number of factors - the volume of gold held by prosperous countries, the rarity of gold as it is refined, and current market trends. Inflation has a major effect as well. In 1910, gold was worth $20 an ounce. In 2007, the value of gold holds steady at almost $800 an ounce. The price does not remain constant though. A quick look at the value of gold in 1990 and then in 2000 will show that it had risen as high as $640 an ounce and then dropped to as little as $250 an ounce. So, it is understandable that you become easily confused by the financial properties of the world's most famous precious metal. This book was written to provide the savvy investor with the essential guide to not only understanding how gold and precious metal investments work, but how to make the most possible money from your investment. You will be given a complete history of the most popular and traded precious metals on the market, where their value first originated and how it has evolved over the course of human history. You will learn how practical uses of precious metals have directly affected their value over time and how metals like gold and silver are direct indicators of the current state of the economy. You will learn why precious metals, despite their fluctuation in price, are immune to the effects of inflation when utilized within you portfolio properly and why they immediately rise in price during times of recession and financial hardship. The physical and financial risks of each precious metal is outlined to show you how such an incredible drop could occur in the value of a physical item and what effects supply and demand have on certain metals that they do not have on others. Most importantly, you will learn to recognize market trends that pinpoint the risk of inflation and the exodus from stock to precious metals that will often occur as a result. You will learn what role the central banks play in setting gold and precious metal values and how you can use mutual funds and futures to diversify your portfolio with precious metals without spreading yourself too thin or risking too much. With the assistance of dozens of financial experts and commodities traders who have worked with gold and precious metals for decades, you will learn all of the ins and outs of precious metals and how you can maximize your returns and minimize your risk. For anyone looking to diversify their portfolio and protect their investments with precious metals, this book provides you with a complete investing guide. ?