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Monday, January 10, 2011

Interesting Silver Facts

Silver Uses
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Silver has many unique properties including its strength, malleability, ductility, electrical and thermal conductivity, sensitivity to light and high reflectance of light. It also has the ability to endure extreme temperature ranges. These unique properties make silver extremely useful in a number of applications.
In 2007, 455.5 million ounces of silver were used for industrial applications, while over 128 million ounces of silver were used in photography, 163.4 million ounces were consumed in the jewelry market, and 58.8 million ounces were used in the silverware market.

Coinage

Silver has been used as a medium of exchange since earliest recorded history, but silver coins were first used in the eastern Mediterranean during 550 BC. By 269 BC, the Roman Empire adopted silver as part of its standard coinage and it was used throughout the trading world.
Until the late 19th century, most nations were on a silver standard with silver coins forming the main circulating currency. Although gold was also used in coinage, its higher value was not practical for everyday payments.

Jewelry

Silver jewellery is highly prized for its brilliant lustre and its ease of fabrication, properties that it shares with gold. Pure silver is tarnish resistant, but too soft for use in jewellery. It is often alloyed with other metals, such as copper, to harden it. For example, sterling silver is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.

Silverware and Table Settings

The same properties that make silver ideal for jewelry, such as its reflective brilliance and tarnish resistance, also make it ideal for use in silverware. Silver is often alloyed with copper for use as cutlery, bowls and decorative items such as picture frames.
Sterling silver has been the standard for silverware since the 14th century. Some less-expensive tableware is plated with a silver coating of 20 to 30 microns thick.

Silver is a Precious Metal

Silver is relatively scarce, however, it is the most plentiful and least expensive of the precious metals. Precious metals are valued for their beauty, superior properties and relative scarcity in the Earth’s. Silver is symbol of status and wealth and is one of the most sought after of all the precious metals.

Posted by Mike Gupton at 5:39 PM