Gold, frequently seen as the quintessential safe haven and stable store of value, has shocked its devotees. In the past two and a half years, it plunged from a peak price of $1,900 an ounce in mid-2011 to about $1,300 by late 2013. For those who bought gold for safety, the loss is particularly galling, for over that same time, U.S. equities rose almost 40%.

The plunge, unsurprisingly, has raised a lot of questions about the role of gold in a portfolio.

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