Silver is perhaps the most amazing metal in the world due to its many unique characteristics. Its plasticity is second only to gold, it has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal, it has antimicrobial properties, and it is the most electrically conductive of all the periodic elements. Of course, such a fantastic metal has several applications.
Jewelry is perhaps the most popular use for silver. Its brilliant polish and low price point (when compared to gold) make it an accessible, yet fashionable metal. Often, pieces are crafted in sterling silver, which is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver, with the rest being copper and sometimes other metals. Sterling silver is remarkably durable, and has been considered as quite fashionable for hundreds of years. To this day, common items are made with silver to denote elegance and higher class. Items such as silver flatware, cups, pens, letter openers, bottles, grooming kits, and more add sophistication to whatever setting they’re used in, such as the office or dining room.
Silver is also a component in many industrial applications. Silver is extremely conductive, so it is the metal of choice for certain wiring applications. It can also be found in batteries, like in silver-oxide batteries (which are commonly used in watches and hearing aids). It’s also highly reflective, so it is employed in optics applications and is a key component in solar reflectors.
There are also medicinal uses for silver. For reasons that are still a mystery to doctors and scientists, silver is quite toxic to bacteria and viruses, but not to humans (do not ingest silver). Even in ancient times, people stored wine, vinegar, milk, and other liquids in silver containers to preserve freshness. Before the advent of antibiotics, silver compounds were widely used to treat and prevent infections. Today, silver is still used in topical gels and as a component in medical equipment to prevent bacterial growth and the spread of infection.
And then of course silver is also a precious metal. Like gold, it is very ductile and malleable, which made it easy to hammer into coins for early forms of currency. It may not be worth as much as gold, but it’s still valuable. Visit our London Fixing page to see what the price of silver is today.