Silver prices and silver stocks led the descent Wednesday of precious metals with some silver mining companies falling more than 7 percent.
On the CME Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold dropped 5.2 percent and platinum tumbled 3 percent, but silver plunged 6.9 percent.
Silver's heavy retreat was reflected in the share price of silver mining companies. In early afternoon trading of major silver miners, the most severe drop was recorded by Endeavour Silver Corp., a Vancouver-based company whose shares fell 8.13 percent.
Close behind were First Majestic Silver Corp., off 7.3 percent, and Silver Wheaton Corp., down 6.1 percent.
Silver exchange-traded funds plummeted as well. The price of iShares Silver Trust dropped 5.7 percent, and Sprott Physical Silver gave up 5.1 percent.