Gold prices have surged to a record high. Silver, however, has flashed brightly behind the scenes, as evidenced by the performance of related shares and exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Silver has experienced a bull market of its own, standing in the shadow of the $1,038 per ounce in gold. Jeff P. Opdyke for The Wall Street Journal reports that the metal is up 44% this year, recently topping $17 a troy ounce.

Why do investors have a taste for gold and leave silver glistening quietly behind? The answer is not simple, but silver has two sides that appeal to investors.

Which side of silver really shines? Silver’s precious-metal characteristics are driving prices at the moment. As inflation anxiety mounts and the health of the U.S. dollar is doubted, investors and speculators look to the metals as a hedge to a weak currency.

As investor demand wanes, though, prices may fall sharply because silver’s market is a much smaller one. Industrial demand won’t grow fast enough to supplant investment demand. Have a stop loss in place to protect yourself when the trend reverses itself.

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