Like other precious metals, silver is an amazing material with many unique properties. 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. With all of these fantastic properties, it’s no wonder why silver has so many uses in a variety of industries.
However, it’s worth noting that pure silver is not the only useful form of the metal. There are many types of silver alloys that have enhanced properties for specific applications. For example, Argentium sterling silver is an alloy containing copper and germanium that, unlike pure silver, is completely resistant to firescale (discoloration caused by heating). When Argentium silver is heated, the germanium oxidizes creating a transparent layer that protects the copper in the alloy from oxygen exposure. Without that exposure, copper oxide never forms and firescale never appears.
In the below infographic we’ll look at some popular silver alloys, what they’re made of, and how they are used.