Silver prices clawed their way back to near a breakeven point Wednesday after falling early in the day's session by 3.5 percent, a performance that easily outshined gold's movement in early afternoon trading.

When the New York futures market closed Tuesday, silver ended at $41.868 per troy ounce. Then, shortly after trading began Wednesday the white metal plunged 3.5 percent, or $1.48, to $40.39.

Gold started out Wednesday doing something similar. From Tuesday's closing price of $1,873.30, the yellow metal plunged 4.2 percent.

But that's where the similarities ended. By the early afternoon silver had cut its losses to a 1.26 percent decline whereas gold had come back far less, to a 3 percent decline.

The spot market showed a similar pattern: Silver was recovering from heavy losses early in the session while gold managed to pare its losses modestly.

None of this suggests that precious metals are having a walk in the park. But it does suggest a resiliency in silver that is not currently evident in gold.