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Silver is a soft, white, lustrous transition metal, chemical element number 47 on the periodic table with the symbol Ag, comes from the Latin word “argentum”, which in turn derives from the Sanskit word “argunas”, which mean - shining.

Silver has been known since antiquity. It was one of the first five metals to be discovered.

Ancient Cyprus, apart from the copper and gold, is also known for its silver mines. It is probable that both gold and silver were discovered in Cyprus a little after Copper was discovered (3000-2500 B.C.). Greek geographer Strabo (64 or 63 BC – c. 24 AD) mentions mines of copper and silver in Cyprus, drawing this information from Eratosthenis. He writes: "from of the thick forests of Cyprus they would cut timber both for building ships and for melting copper and silver".



  • Silver is the most reflective element, which makes it useful in mirrors, telescopes, microscopes and solar cells. Polished silver reflects 95% of the visible light spectrum. However, silver is a poor reflector of ultraviolet light.

  • Silver can exist in its native state. In other words, nuggets or crystals of pure silver exist in nature. Silver also occurs as a natural alloy with gold that is called electrum. Silver commonly occurs in copper, lead, and zinc ores.

  • Silver metal is not toxic to humans. In fact, it can be used as a food decoration. However, most silver salts are toxic. Silver is germicidal, meaning it kills bacteria and other lower organisms.

  • Silver is the best electric conductor of the elements. It is used as the standard by which other conductors are measured. On a scale of 0 to 100, silver ranks 100 in terms of electrical conductivity. Copper ranks 97 and gold ranks 76.

  • 28 grams (ounce) of silver can be drawn into a wire about 2,4 km long. Only gold is more ductile than silver.

  • A single grain of silver (~65 mg) can be pressed into a sheet 150 times thinner than the average sheet of paper.

  • The words for 'silver' and 'money' are the same in fourteen languages or more.

  • The compound silver iodide has been used for cloud seeding, to cause clouds to produce rain and try to control hurricanes

  • Silver is stable in oxygen and water, but it tarnishes in air because of a reaction with sulfur compounds to form a black sulfide layer.

  • The price of silver presently is less than that of gold, varying according to demand, discovery of sources and the methods of separating the metal from other elements. In ancient Egypt and Medieval European countries, silver was valued more highly than gold.

  • Around two-thirds of the silver obtained in the World today is a by-product of copper, lead, and zinc mining.

See also:

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