According to the U.S. Geological Society, which recently reported that silver will be the first metal in the periodic table of elements to go extinct, yes, there is a serious silver shortage ahead. Increased industrial demand coupled with investors seeking to store their money during a worldwide financial crisis has created the perfect storm for a silver shortage that will spark never-before-seen spot prices and an incredible jump in the cost of silver for investing as well as for usage in electronics, antibacterial applications and jewelry.

Consider that silver is more rare than gold in above-ground bullion form, and that most silver ever mined has been consumed and is not retrievable. Most gold that has been mined, however, is still in use as bullion or jewelry. Very little of it has been lost to the point of being unrecoverable.

Gold’s value is that is it valued. For thousands of years, people have considered this metal precious and valuable, and therefore it is worth a good amount of money in any currency. Silver, in addition to being a precious metal that has a longer history even than gold, has numerous industrial applications for which there is no other metal that will work. For example, silver is the best thermal conductor and electrical connector.

Think about what this all means. Silver is rare and has many uses upon which our technological society depends on for life as we know it, and for which there are no substitutes. China especially is expected to sharply increase its demand for silver in coming years.

Silver is also a precious metal historically valued as a place to store wealth, and the world is experiencing an ongoing economic recession or possible depression that has prompted many to buy silver coins and bullion.

These factors have created a perfect storm such that, as many silver analysts predict, the price of this precious metal will likely rise dramatically in the near future, possibly outperforming gold at some point during its run.

Furthermore, there is some evidence, much speculation, and pending lawsuits that contend large banks have manipulated a price fix on silver to artificially suppress the real spot price of silver and thus the trade value of silver coins and bullion.

The best way to invest in silver is to buy actual physical silver to hold in your possession. But as more and more investors follow this trend, and demand for silver in electric and technological sectors increases, it is nearly certain that a silver shortage is looming in our future.