All types of investing involve risk, including precious metals. This chart shows some of the major choices you have for investing in precious metals based on risk:

Type Relative risk level Most common direct type of risk
Bullion coins and bars Low Market, physical
Numismatic and collectible Medium Fraud, physical
Major mining companies Low-medium Market, political
Midsize mining companies Medium-high Market, political
Junior mining companies High Market, political
Mutual funds Low Market, political
Exchange traded funds Low-medium Market, political
Futures Highest Market, exchange
Options: covered call writing Low Market
Options: buying calls and puts High Market