There have always been people who invest in gemstones, gold, and silver. The intrinsic value found in them makes them more stable during times of economic crisis. Gold is the most stable and liquid vehicle for this form of investing. The values for gemstones and silver are dependent upon supply and demand, market value, and speculation. Historically, investing in silver used to be a way to store money. There was a set standard that helped to guarantee a good price for investors. Since the end of this standard, the price of this metal has been very volatile, not necessarily tracking with gold.
Investing in silver can take several forms. Obviously, jewelry is very popular. There are different levels of quality in its jewelry, and it is typically not very expensive. When this metal is being purchased strictly for investment purposes, the most popular form is through bullion bars. These are usually 99.9% pure (.999) and uniform in size. They are easy to store and carry. Coins are also very portable and easy to store. However, they are not.999 silver. Coins melted down will produce about.715 silver. These are coins that were minted before 1965.
There are also specialty forms that can be used for investing in silver. One of these is Y2K bags of silver. These were bought wildly before the turn of the millennium. Afterwards they were almost all sold off and melted down. This limited supply may make this specialty product more valuable. Collectible mintings of commemorative coins or medallions are also released from time to time. Depending on market demand for these items and the supply of them, investors may be able to make money on these products as well. However, these types of investments are better for collectors who enjoy the collection and do not expect a return on investment soon.
Investing in silver can also be done through Exchange Traded Products (ETP) or Exchange Traded Funds. These are commodities stocks that are traded on the stock market. Basically, each stock is representative of a certain weight of silver. When an investor purchases those stocks, they are purchasing a share of the actual commodity of silver. These amounts are often small, making this investment much more accessible to average people that shelling out the cash for silver bars. Investors can also put silver (or gold) in their IRA investment vehicles.