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Learn about Silver and its uses

History and uses

Worldwide silver demand is centered around three main uses: industrial, photography and jewellery/silverware. These three categories account for over 95% of the worlds annual silver consumption.

Its not hard to spot silver in our daily lives, from sparkling jewellery to silver backed mirrors, but its the silver used behind the scenes that has a remarkable impact on the function of our modern world. The electrical contacts inside switches, appliances and electrical goods all utilize silver in their manufacture. Computer keyboards, car dashboards, washing machines, and microwave ovens also rely on the properties of silver to function.

Since early times, silver has been versatile and malleable metal, fashioned into useful shapes and objects to be treasured. The visual gleam and lack of corrosion made silver a valuable commodity, and therefore was one of the earliest forms of currency.

More recently, advances in science and technology led to a discovery in 1813 by Jospeh Nicephore Niepce that it was possible to capture a photographic image using silver nitrate. Following this in 1884 was the discovery by Dr. Carl Crede that silver can be used in medical applications to treat viruses.

What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver that contains 92.5% (by weight) of silver and 7.5% (by weight) of other metals, the most common being copper.
The industry standard for sterling silver has a millesimal fineness of 925. Fine silver (99.9% pure silver) is generally too soft for producing durable items such as jewellery, so it is alloyed with metals such as copper to increase the overall strength, yet still retaining its malleability and reflective sheen. Other metals can also be added to the copper (or to replace copper) to improve casting porosity and reduce firescaling and tarnishing. The metals include Zinc, Germanium and Platinum along with mineral compounds such as silicon and boron. Sterling silver jewellery can be identified by the 925 Hallmark, stamped into the silver.

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