Interesting facts about silver


Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag and atomic number 47.

It is one of 118 elements that make up the universe.

The word “silver” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “seolfor” for the element.

Symbol “Ag” is from the Latin word for silver, argentum.

Silver is a soft metal with a brilliant white luster that can take a high degree of polish.


Together with gold and the platinum-group metals, silver is one of the so-called precious metals.

Because of its comparative scarcity, brilliant white color, malleability, ductility, and resistance to atmospheric oxidation, silver has long been used in the manufacture of coins, ornaments, and jewelry.

The metal is found in the Earth‘s crust in the pure, free elemental form (“native silver”), as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite.

Most of the world’s silver is found in Mexico, China, Peru, Russia, Poland and Australia.

silver coins

Silver was one of the seven metals of antiquity; the other six are gold, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury.

Silver ornaments and decorations have been found in royal tombs dating back as far as 4000 BC.

From about 400 BC, silver coins were used in Greece.

The Romans had a silver coin called a denarius.

silver roman coins

From the 8th century AD the Anglo-Saxons in what is now England made silver pennies. A pound weight of silver was melted to make 240 pennies. There were 240 pennies in a pound until 1971. However in the 8th century a penny was a large sum of money (4 or 5 pence would buy a sheep).

In 845 the Vikings raided Paris. The French king paid them 7,000 pounds of silver to leave.

In the early 16th century silver was discovered near the city of Joachimsthal in what is now the Czech Republic. Silver coins were made, which were called Joachimsthalers. Later they were called thalers and our word dollar is derived from that.

Culturally, silver has been associated with the Moon and feminine nature, while gold has been associated with the Sun and masculine nature.

silver heart

It is associated with philosophical traits of intuition, self-reflection, and inner wisdom.

Silver also has negative cultural meanings: the idiom thirty pieces of silver, referring to a reward for betrayal, references the bribe Judas Iscariot is said in the New Testament to have taken from Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to turn Jesus of Nazareth over to soldiers of the high priest Caiaphas.

Ethically, silver also symbolizes greed and degradation of consciousness; this is the negative aspect, the perverting of its value.

In folklore, silver was commonly thought to have mystic powers: for example, a bullet cast from silver is often supposed in such folklore the only weapon that is effective against a werewolf, witch, or other monsters.

silver bullet

The first ever Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, struck in 1794, is the most expensive coin in the world, valued at over $10 million.

The largest collection of silver coins consists of 1,600 non-duplicate coins from around the world, and belongs to José Manuel Costa Lavín (Mexico).

The largest silver sculpture measures 2.52 m (8 ft 3.4 in) tall and 1.97 m (6 ft 5.5 in) wide, designed by Haim Lutin (Ukraine) in Kiev, Ukraine, on 9 June 2017. The sculpture, made by Yaakov Davidoff, depicts a menorah made entirely of sterling silver and weighs 56.6 kg (124.78 lb).

largest silver sculpture

The largest silver ring weighs 91.32 kg (201.33 lb) and consists of 99.99 percent pure silver. It was created by Valentine Diamond (Turkey) and measured in Istanbul, Turkey, on 27 September 2013. The ring has an inner diameter of 92 cm (3 ft).

The largest silver spoon measures 131.45 cm (51.75 in) long and was commissioned by Michael D Feldman of Argenteus Ltd, London, UK. The spoon known as ‘The Great Basting Spoon Of 2002’ was made for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals, even higher than that of copper. Yet, its higher cost and tarnishability have prevented it from replacing copper for electrical purposes.


Polished silver reflects 95% of the visible light spectrum, the most of any element.

Mirrors that need superior reflectivity for visible light are made with silver as the reflecting material in a process called silvering. Common mirrors, however, are backed with aluminum.

The photosensitivity of the silver halides allowed for their use in traditional photography, although digital photography, which does not use silver, is now dominant.

Silver was found in Nevada, USA in 1858. As a result there was a silver rush. In 1859 Henry Comstock discovered silver in California.


Argentina got its name from the Latin word for silver – argentum.

Argyrophobia, or argentophobia, is the fear of silver. Argyrophobia sufferers would avoid using silverware, silver cutlery and other silver objects.