There are various ways of investing in gold, with owning the physical commodity probably being the most reliable, but not necessarily the most convenient. Alternatives include Exchange Traded Products, Exchange Traded Funds and Certificates, which enable investment in gold without having to take delivery of the actual product. All of these, however, carry inherent risks. In our opinion, it is best to buy coins or bullion and store it in a safe at home or in a bank safety deposit box. Just don't forget where you've left it...and remember, like any investment, prices can fall as quickly as they can rise.
For centuries, gold has been considered a safe bet, especially when the wider economy is volatile, or in times of political unrest and uncertainty on the horizon. Only around 2,600 tons of gold are mined each year, so it is in relatively limited supply and demand is therefore usually strong. As well as being a universally accepted and internationally valued currency which should, theoretically, remain immune to inflation, gold is also attractive because, since January 2000, it has been exempt from VAT when bought in the UK.
The smart way to buy gold is not, however, necessarily to buy it in conventional lumps. In recent years, soaring prices have encouraged buyers to look to other sources, such as old wristwatches and jewellery with a high gold content - the result being that the value of many pieces has far exceeded their apparent worth. Even new watches are being snapped up as a way of hedging against further price rises.
See more gold in our watches & jewellery section