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Silver

Bring Out The Silver

In yesteryears when visitors came for dinner the best silver cutlery was brought out of storage and put on display next to the Royal Doulton crockery set. Silver was then, and still is to this day, a very precious metal.

Silver is a metallic chemical element and forms part of the transition metal group. It is a lustrous metal with a brilliant white metallic appearance. It is ductile, hard - harder than gold - and is easy to work with. In its pure form it has high thermal and electric conductivity. It also has the lowest contact resistance of any metal.

Silver’s history dates back to the beginning of creation. Over the years it has been used in artefacts, ornamentations and even has prestige in folk lore stories like “shooing a werewolf with a silver bullet”. Over time, silver items can tarnish and turn a greenish-black colour but with some polishing the shine will once again return. You remember the days when your grandmother made you polish the silver, right?

What Is Silver Used For?

Most will know that silver is used in jewellery, cutlery, coinage and in ornaments. Silver is used in electrical and electronic products as connectors, conductors and contacts. It is also used in watches, hearing aids and batteries.

Silver is used in the production of reflective solar panels and is used as silvering for mirrors. Silver is used as a catalyst in oxidation reactions and to make solder and brazing alloys. It is used to produce wind instruments like flutes.

Silver has medical and dentistry uses as well. It is impregnated into some bandages and topical gels and used in catheters. Some homeopathic solutions contain traces of silver. In dentistry silver is amalgamated with other metals to be used as a filling. Silver is used as an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent in clothing too.

Where Is Silver Produced?

Silver is sometimes found in nature as a free metal but also appears with other minerals and deposits of ore like copper, gold, nickel, lead and lead-zinc. Silver is heavily mined around the world with the largest deposits being mined in China, Australia, Peru, Poland, Serbia, Bolivia, Mexico and Chile.

Conclusion

Silver is a lustrous metal with high electric and thermal conductivity. It has a wide range of applications and is most commonly known to be used in utensils, jewellery, ornaments and in electronic equipment. It has medical and dental applications as well. Silver is mined in about 56 countries with Mexico being the largest producing country.

If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.

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