From jewelry to electrical components and almost everything in between, silver has a myriad of uses and applications across nearly every facet and sector of industry.
Besides finding silver in the local jewelry store, you can find it on the periodic table of elements. It is a chemical element and has an atomic number of 47. Silver is considered a precious, noble, and transition metal. It’s beautiful and reflective white/gray luster has made it the metal of choice for human civilizations since 1200 BC. As gold was considered the metal of the sun, silver was seen as the metal of the moon. Wearing silver is thought to be like holding a mirror up to your soul, and brings about feelings of self awareness and balance. It has been used for currency and jewelry for ancient civilizations across many nations and continents.
Silver is found in the earth’s crust as native silver in it’s natural form, as an alloy with other metals like gold, or minerals like argentite and chlorargyrite.
The healing properties of silver have been appreciated since ancient Greece and Rome. In the 19th century sailors would keep a pure silver coin in the bottom of water and wine bottles to protect the integrity of the fluids. During the Middle Ages silver was used to prevent infection in wounds, and it’s antibacterial properties have it still being used in hospitals today.
Besides its medicinal properties, silver is the highest conductor of electricity on the planet, and boasts the highest thermal conductivity as well. This makes it an excellent choice for creating silver electrical contacts and silver contact tips. Its beautiful luster has made it a key ingredient in jewelry and mirrors for thousands of years.
It is hard to find an area of human life that silver is not a part of. From symbolic uses in religious ceremonies and athletic trophies to practical applications in technology and X-ray film, silver has left an impression on nearly every market. Silver is also associated with wealth and prosperity. If you live a life of privilege you are said to have been born with a silver spoon in your hand or mouth. Having real silver-ware or a set of silver for tea services was a mark of high ranking in early British society. It has also taken a popular place in folklore by being the only substance to deter vampires or kill werewolves.
Besides the intrinsic values of silver it can be appreciated today in objects like silver electrical contacts and color changing photochromic glass lenses. As technology continues to advance silver remains an important part of the tech that will power humanity’s future as it did the present and past.