Imagine yourself desperately hoping to see a tiny yellow glint of golden sitting at a flow swirling water in a pan and dreaming of striking it rich. America has come a long way since the early 1850s, today but gold holds a prominent place in our economy. Following is an extensive introduction to gold, from why it’s valuable and how we get it the risks and benefits of each approach, and advice on where novices should begin.

It was difficult to dig gold and the more difficult something is to obtain, the higher it’s valued. Over time, people accumulate and store and began using the precious metal as a way to facilitate trade riches. In reality, ancient paper monies were normally backed by gold, with every printed invoice corresponding to an amount of gold stored in a vault somewhere for which it could, technically, be traded (this rarely happened).

So the connection between gold and paper currency has been broken, nowadays currencies are mainly fiat currencies. But, the yellow metal is still loved by people. Where does need for gold come in the most significant demand sector by far is jewellery, which accounts for around 50% of requirement. Another 40 percent stems in direct physiological investment such as that used to make bars, bullion, medals , and coins.

It’s different than numismatic coins, collectibles that exchange based on requirement for the particular type of coin rather than its gold material.) Investors in physical gold comprise individuals banks, and, more lately, exchange-traded funds which buy gold on behalf of others. Gold is often regarded as a investment.

This is only one reason that when financial markets are volatile investors tend to push the price of gold up. Because gold is a good conductor of electricity, the demand for gold comes for use in things like dentistry, heat shields, and gadgets. What’s gold’s price is a commodity which trades based on demand and supply.

The requirement for jewelry is fairly steady, though economic downturns do lead to some temporary reductions in demand from this industry. When investors are concerned about the economy, they often buy gold, and based on the rise in demand, push its cost higher.

How much gold is there Gold is quite plentiful in character but is difficult to extract. By way of example, seawater contains gold but in such quantities it might cost more than the gold will be worth to extract. So there is a difference between the availability of gold and just how much gold there is on earth.

Advances in extraction methods or gold prices can change that number. Gold has been discovered close to undersea thermal vents in quantities that suggest it may be worth extracting if costs rose. Source: Getty Images. How can we get gold.

Therefore, a miner may actually produce gold for a by-product of its mining efforts. Miners start by finding a place where they consider gold is situated in big quantities it can be obtained. Then local authorities and agencies have to grant the business permission to build and run a mine.

How well does gold maintain its worth in a recession The answer depends upon how you invest in gold, however a fast look at gold prices relative to stock prices during the bear market of the 2007-2009 downturn provides a telling illustration. Between Nov. 30, 2007, and June 1, 2009, the S&P 500 index fell 36%.

This is the latest example of a material and protracted stock downturn, but it is also a particularly dramatic one since, at the moment, there were very real worries regarding the viability of the international financial system. Gold frequently performs comparatively well as traders hunt out investments that are safe-haven when capital markets are in turmoil.

Investment Option Pros Cons Examples Jewelry High markups Questionable resale value Just about any piece of gold jewelry with sufficient gold content (generally 14k or high ) Physical gold Direct exposure Tangible ownership Markups No upside beyond gold cost changes Storage Can be difficult to liquidate Collectible coins Bullion (noncollectible gold bars and coins) Gold certificates Immediate exposure No requirement to have physical gold Only as good as the company that backs them Just a few firms issue them Mostly illiquid Gold ETFs Immediate exposure Highly liquid Fees No upside past gold price changes SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEMKT: GLD) Futures contracts Small up-front capital necessary to control a large amount of gold exceptionally liquid Indirect gold exposure Highly leveraged Contracts are time-limited Futures trades from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (continuously updating as old contracts expire) Gold mining stocks Upside from mine development Usually buys gold costs Indirect gold vulnerability Mine working risks Exposure to other commodities Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) Goldcorp (NYSE: GG) Newmont Goldcorp (NYSE: NEM) Gold mining-focused mutual funds and ETFs Diversification Upside from mine development Normally tracks gold prices Indirect gold vulnerability Mine operating risks Exposure to additional commodities Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio (NASDAQMUTFUND: FSAGX) Van Eck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEMKT: GDX) Van Eck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEMKT: GDXJ) Streaming and royaltycompanies Diversification Upside from mine development Usually tracks gold costs Consistent wide margins Indirect gold exposure Mine operating risks Exposure to other commodities Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE: WPM) Royal Gold (NASDAQ: RGLD) Franco-Nevada (NYSE: FNV) antiques The markups in the jewelry sector make this a terrible option for investing in gold.