Gold plunged 3.8 percent Wednesday after the dollar firmed and investors took profits from a recent jump in the price of the yellow metal.

By midday gold had pared what was a $68, or 3.8 percent loss, to a loss of $50, or 3 percent, decline. Around noon the price had fallen to near its Feb. 9 closing price.

Gold has soared since the beginning of this year. From Dec. 29 the price of gold on the Comex has climbed more than 15 percent, making it one of the most profitable investments of the year.

Another reason for the day's big drop was the inability of the price to cross over the $1,800 level. It climbed at one point in the session to $1,792.30 but after failing to continue rising, many investors bailed, accelerating the plunge.

The metal's next level of price support is seen at $1,702.30, according to barchart.com, with the first level of price resistance at $1,773.90.

Shares of gold mining companies also plunged. Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX), the world's largest gold producer, dropped 2.2 percent, Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) fell 3.1 percent and Harmony Gold ADR (NYSE : HMY) was down 4 percent.