What is it about gold that makes people so passionate, crazy, paranoid?
It's always been that way, but in the last few years the level of interest in investing in gold (and silver) has reached new peaks.
I'm now regularly asked about gold as an investment; five or six years ago no one asked.
That's partly because gold was only $400 an ounce then, partly because the global chaos of the last few years has revived interest in gold.
But it's also because there were far fewer ways to invest in gold, say, in 2004. Back then you had to have a futures license to invest in gold futures, or you had to buy physical gold, a cumbersome and expensive process.
That's all changed. Exchange-traded products backed by gold have proliferated, making gold investing possible in a way it never was before.
I now routinely get asked not whether to invest in gold, but how best to do it.
I also get asked about how the business operates. That's a good question because the gold industry has not exactly gone out of its way to show you how it creates the product.
That's the purpose of our special report on CNBC TV and CNBC.com — to shed some light on how gold goes from a mine two miles beneath the earth in South Africa to the neck of a woman in, say, Mumbai.
Similarly, how does a nugget of gold from the same mine end up part of a 400-ounce gold bar sitting in a vault in London?
Or how does gold mined deep in the forests of Brazil end up as an engagement ring in Houston?
We'll take you to the deepest gold mine in the world — 2.2 miles underground — a few miles from Johannesburg; to the world's largest gold refinery , so big it has refined 30 percent of all the gold ever mined; to gold bank vaults in London; to gold trading desks in New York; to America's largest gold jewelry maker in Lafayette, La., which takes gold bars and transforms them into jewelry sold to 40,000 jewelry companies all over the world.
No, we won't tell you where gold will be trading in the next week, month, or year. But when you're done with our special coverage, you will have a much clearer idea of how this industry operates, and that doing your homework is the first thing you need to do if you want to invest in gold. ?