Silver is a mineral with a hardness of 3 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness [?]. These Cubicly structured gems are made of ag, their full chemical compound being Ag.
Silver is a Native Element with an isometric system, a soft, white, precious metallic element of group 1 of the Periodic System with the symbol Ag.
It appears as cubes, octahedrons, and dodecahedrons, and rarely as crystals. Native silver cubes are always small, usually displaying stepped faces, or in compact masses of twining branches, and wirelike forms of a silvery, gray-white color. Aggregates that look like trees with small individual branches at right angles or star-shaped aggregates are common.
It is fairly soft, very heavy, ductile, and malleable. It is opaque, with bright metallic luster, though almost always dulled by a blackish film caused by surface chemical alteration. The color of the metal in its fresh state is silver-white, but oxidizes quickly, depending on the thickness of the surface coating. It fuses at a low temperature (960 C/1760 F), and is soluble in nitric acid. It tarnishes if exposed to fumes of hydrogen sulfide.
Silver is formed by reduction of sulfides in the lower part of lead, zinc, and silver deposits. Sometimes it also forms as a primary mineral, either in low-temperature hydrothermal veins associated with calcite or in high-temperature veins associated with nickel or cobalt sulfides and uraninite. It is frequently associated with copper.
The most beautiful branchlike formations of native silver longer than 20 cm have been found in Kongsberg (Norway), where hydrothermal deposits rising to the surface produced masses of silver up to 800 kilograms. The highest level of production has been from the Guanajuato mine (Mexico). Other important locations of silver finds are Freiberg, Schneeberg, Annaberg (Germany), Joachimsthal (Czechoslovakia), Ontario (Canada), San Luis Potosi (Mexico), Sardinia, Bolivia, Chile, Australia, Colorado (USA). A largest block of silver was mined in Aspen, Colorado (USA) weighing 380 kg. (844 lbs.).
- Silver Value-Nice silver calculator that calculates value of silver in various karats and weights.
- Silver Price Per OZ-Site that lists live silver prices per ounce, as well as the melt values for most silver coins. Live value updated every few minutes it looks like.
- Silver (Wiki)-Silver article from Wikipedia goes into a little more detail in regards to this silver metal.
The name "silver" can trace its origin back to the High German "silabar" and even to the Gothic "silubr". Centuries earlier, the Greeks called it "argyros" from "argos" meaning "brilliant white." The Latin name for silver is "argentum" meaning "grey", and is the origin of its chemical symbol Ag, assigned by Jons Jacob Berzelius, who devised the system of chemical notation we use today.
Silver is rarer than gold, but reacts to chemicals and external elements more than gold does. There is evidence of the use of silver all throughout history, as a medium of exchange, as stored treasure, and jewellery and ornaments. Ancient cultures valued silver much higher than gold. If our currency today is based on the gold standard, monetary stability during the Roman Empire depended on how much silver reserves they had.
It has also been considered to have healing and anti-bacterial properties and liquids like wine, vinegar did not spoil when poured into silver bottles. In 1679, Adam Lonicerus wrote that "pulverized silver takes away evil scabbiness, when rubbed in foul wounds consumes the bad flesh, strengthens the heart and makes good blood."
Silver is the best-known conductor of both heat and electricity. As such it is used in photography, chemistry, optics, electronics, and in hundreds of other industrial and commercial applications. It is malleable and ductile enough for it to be formed into fine wires.
In the medical industry, silver is used in wound dressings and for coating medical devices like catheters and breathing tubes that need anti-bacterial shields. Even if it was used as a disease-resistant substance in ancient times, debate continues about whether mixtures like colloidal silver, used today as an alternative medical treatment, is actually effective, or may cause health disorders like argyria, where the skin becomes blue or bluish-grey colored.
In the USA and some other countries silver is still used as currency, generally in some form of alloy. Silver forms 20 to 25 per cent of the gold and silver alloy, called electrum.
In its pure form, silver is too soft to use for jewellery, so it is usually alloyed with copper, also for silverware. Silver content is usually marked in parts per thousand. Sterling silver (925) has 925 parts pure silver and 75 parts copper.