(Last Updated on : 23/01/2014)
Silver has been used for thousands of years for ornaments and utensils, for trade, and as the basis for many monetary systems. Alchemists referred to silver by the name Luna, as it was associated with the moon, as well as with the sea and various lunar goddesses. In India, foods can be found decorated with a thin layer of silver, known as 'Varak.' Silver is found in the earth as native silver, a mineral. It has a bright, metallic luster. When it is untarnished, it has a white color. In gold, lead, zinc, and copper ores, it is found in very small amounts, which is known as trace amount.
As a mineral, it crystallizes in the cubic system. In a very rare cases silver forms crystals. Generally, found in thin sheets or as long wires and bundles of wires. Silver is soft with hardness on Mohs scale only at 2 to 3. It is malleable and ductile. The name 'silver' was derived from the Old English word 'seolfer.' Silver occur in lead, zinc, and copper ore deposits. Seventy-five percent of the resources in the world are found in association with other metal ores. The remaining is found with gold.
Uses of Silver
For thousand of years silver has been used for jewelry and all types of decorative items.
It is used in silverware.
Silver bromide and silver nitrate are used in photography.
Silver conducts electricity well, so it is used in electrical products.
Dentists in amalgam fillings use it.
It is used in the production of bearings.
As untarnished silver is the best reflector of light, it was used in ancient times to make mirrors.
Sterling silver, an alloy of other metal (usually copper), was used as currency in the United States.