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Gemstones 250x250

The Precious Metal Silver

Sterling Silver Goblet & Coaster

Silver is an important precious metal, and has been used by ancient civilizations throughout history as a second to Gold in importance and value. Like Gold, it has always been used as a monetary standard, and ancient silver ornaments and silverware dating back centuries have been found throughout the world.

Color

? Metallic, White

Hardness

? 2.5 - 3

Chemical Formula

? Ag

Mineral Class

? Silver

Additional Properties

Crystal System
? Isometric
Transparency
? Opaque
SG
? 9.0 - 12.0
Luster
? Metallic
Cleavage ? None

All About

Silver is very malleable and ductile, and is very easy to work with. However, it is poorly resistant to pressure and easily bends. For this reason, silver is alloyed with other metals to increase its toughness and durability.

Silver jewelry, ornaments, and silverware are traditionally made from Sterling Silver. Sterling Silver is an alloy composed of 92.5% silver and the remainder 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Items made from Sterling Silver are usually engraved with the letters 925, which indicates that it is 92.5% silver.

Sterling Silver is harder and more durable than pure Silver. Sterling Silver jewelry is sometimes plated with an extremely thin layer of pure silver to provide an extra shine. Vermeil, which is used in jewelry, is Sterling Silver coated with a thin layer of Gold or occasionally Platinum. It is an inexepensive alternative to those valuable metals it is coated with.

Silver is notorious for its habit of tarnishing. Fresh Silver has a bright-metallic-white color, but almost invariably turns yellowish to blackish upon continuous exposure to air. This is caused by a chemical reaction of the silver to sulfur compounds present in the atmosphere. The only way to prevent this effect is to glaze the silver with an anti-tarnish coat. Silver should also be kept away from eggs, which are rich in sulfur. Tarnished silver can easily be restored to its original color by using tarnish-removing chemicals that are readily available.

Uses

? Silver is fashioned into rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and other jewelry figures. However, the bulk of silver goes towards use as ornamental utensils. Goblets, candelabras, cutlery, trays, dishes, and, of course, silverware, are just some examples of what Silver is made into. Silver has also been used in coinage since the earliest of times.

Varieties

?

Treatments & Enhancements

? Silver jewelry and ornaments are always alloyed with other metals to increase durability. Sterling Silver (the most widespread form of silver used) is 92.5% silver, with the remainder 7.5% copper and/or other metals.

The Precious Metal Silver Sources

? The largest Silver producers are Peru, Mexico, China, Australia, Chile, Poland, Russia, the U.S. (Colorado and Michigan), and Canada (Ontario).

Similar Gemstones

? The much-more-valuable can closely resembles untarnished silver. However, Platinum is harder and does not tarnish. Some cheap alloys of iron and zinc are sometimes made to resemble silver, but can be easily distinguished.

The Precious Metal Silver in the Rough Photos

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The Precious Metal Silver Jewelry Photos

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