If mining exchange traded funds could express emotion, those that hold shares of gold and silver miners are probably counting the days until 2013.

As has been well-documented throughout this year, gold and silver mining ETFs have absorbed some brutal treatment. That is not surprising when the largest physically-backed gold and silver ETFs are down 26.1% and 34.6%, respectively.

Mining ETFs have been worse as the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX) and Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) are each down more than 50% this year. [Another Bad Day for Mining ETFs]

Not all mining ETFs have struggled this year. A smaller, new entrant to the fray has been impressive and looks like a diamond in the rough. No pun intended. That ETF is the PureFunds ISE Diamond/Gemstone ETF (NYSEArca: GEMS), which in layman’s terms is the diamond equivalent of an GDX or SIL. Except for when it comes to returns. [A Precious Gems ETF for the Holidays]

Over the past six months, GDX and SIL are down an average of 19.2%. Over that same time, GEMS has jumped 14.5%. Earlier this month, GEMS added one of the biggest names in the diamond business to its 25-stock lineup.

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