Gold prices on Tuesday blasted through the $1,700 per ounce ceiling that has kept them boxed in for the last month on growing fears that Europe is already in an acute financial crisis and Europe's problems are becoming the world's problems.

Pessimism is growing about the ability of German and French leaders to either agree on how best to increase the continent's bailout fund and otherwise stop sovereign debt defaults and the collapse of banks that hold the increasingly cheap bonds from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

European leaders are set to unveil the latest iteration of a rescue package on Wednesday during a meeting in Brussels. Adding to Tuesday's gloom was the abrupt cancellation of a meeting of finance ministers on Tuesday. The cancellation was, reportedly, because ministers could not agree on what to discuss.

Investors were abandoning stocks: the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.65 percent, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.98 percent and the S&P 500 lost 0.84 percent. European stocks also ended the day lower.

The dollar was up and the euro was lower.

Gold on the Comex, meanwhile, blasted through $1,700 per ounce, a level not seen since Sept. 22 when it closed at $1,742.47.

Gold for December delivery jumped $51.50 to $1,703.80, while cash gold surged $43.83 to $1,696.93.

Silver for December delivery soared $1.59 to $33.23, while cash silver shot up $1,39 to $33.06.