Many turn to bullion in times of turmoil, viewing gold as a safe haven asset that rises when situations gets scary.
But according to gold experts, that betrays a basic misunderstanding of how the gold market works.
"I don't think the geopoliticals are doing anything for gold. And the only time they do is if they destabilize the equity market," said Edward Meir, senior commodity consultant with INTL FCStone.
In other words, gold may indeed rise when scary situations crop up around the globe, but gold prices are responding to the action in the equity market, not to the conflicts themselves.
That comports with recent market movements.
Despite the Ukraine crisis, which continues to be dicey and somewhat murky, gold prices are trading just off of a 2½-month low, as stocks continue to set record highs.
And despite belligerent-sounding headlines, with Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly saying he could "take (Ukraine capital) Kiev in two weeks," gold prices dropped 1.7 percent that day.
"It's doesn't respond directly—gold kind of responds afterwards," agreed RBC precious metals analyst George Gero. While noting that gold traders are closely watching the situations in Ukraine and in the Middle East, Gero said that it's "strong stocks and a strong dollar" that have hurt gold recently.
Another aspect of the trade that many have been missing is that investors around the world have a less volatile safe-haven asset they can turn to: the U.S. dollar.
"We tend to buy gold when faced with geopolitical problems, but outside the U.S., they tend to buy dollars in the face of such turmoil," said Scott Nations of NationsShares.