NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the introduction of exchange traded funds, investors have been given the opportunity to play not only stocks and bonds, but also precious metals. As the number of retail investors boasting gold, silver and other shiny metals within their portfolios has blossomed, this slice of the market has evolved into a whole new asset class.Many investors are familiar with veteran metals funds such as SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) and iShares Silver Trust ( SLV). However, over the years ETF providers have introduced new products which provide investors access to not only gold and silver, but also platinum and palladium. ETFs and ETNs today can expose investors to the physical commodity, futures contracts and individual gold miners. Additionally, as the ETF industry has expanded, investors have been given the opportunity to take leveraged bets on the performance of popular precious metals. Over the next two days I will examine the various precious metal exchange traded products and compare their relative strengths.