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The Shining Facts about Silver

Sep 4, 2007
Demand for silver comes from three major areas: industrial, photography and jewelry and silverware. These three categories represent more than 95 percent of annual silver consumption. While jewelry is instantly recognizable as an element in jewelry its role in the modern word goes far beyond jewelry, let's take a look at why silver is so important.

Sparkling tableware, shining jewelry, and silvered mirrors are the contributions of silver to our daily lives. However silver is being used behind the scenes to make the modern world function efficiently.

Inside switches, silver contacts efficiently and safely turn on and off the powerful electric current that flows into homes, lamps and appliances. Silver if found under the keys of computer keyboards, behind automobile dashboards, and behind the control panels of washing machines or microwave ovens that switch on or off at the touch of the finger.

Inside the 220-volt line circuit breaker boxes in our homes or inside the 75,000-volt circuit breakers in power stations, silver performs a safe and steady task of switching on or off electric power.

Silver has been a multifaceted asset throughout history. It was found as a free metal. It was easily worked into useful shapes and was widely used by early man. Beauty, weight and lack of corrosion made silver valuable and it was one of the earliest of metals to be used as a medium of exchange.

The early discovery that water, wine, milk and vinegar stayed pure longer in silver vessels, led to its desirability as a container for long voyages. Cyrus the Great, King of Persia (550-529 B.C.), a man of vision who established a board of health and a medical dispensary for his citizens, had water drawn from a special stream, boiled, and drawn by mules, and carried in silver vessels, following him at any time.

In more recent times, the first telegrapher tapped out his code in 1832 with a silver electrical contact that made the current flow. Earlier that century, Joseph Nicephore Niepce created the first photographic image obtained through a camera-like device in 1813. It was silver nitrate that made it possible.

Finally, when the German obstetrician, Dr. F. Crede made his medical breakthrough in 1884 to halt the disease that caused blindness in generations of children at birth, it was silver that killed the virus.

Today, the demands of modern technology have revealed the remarkable range of electrical, mechanical, optical, and medicinal properties that have placed silver as the key metal in many applications.
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