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Silver: Used in photography, jewelry, in electronics because of its very high conductivity, as currency - generally in some form of an alloy, in lining vats and other equipment for chemical reaction vessels, water distillation, etc., catalyst in manufacture of ethylene, mirrors, electric conductors, batteries, silver plating, table cutlery, dental, medical, and scientific equipment, electrical contacts, bearing metal, magnet windings, brazing alloys, solder. Silver is mined in approximately 56 countries. Nevada produces over one-third of the U.S. silver. Largest silver reserves are found in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Peru, and China.


Silver has been known and used since ancient times. Evidence in Asia Minor suggests that people were separating silver from lead as long ago as 3000 B.C.E. Like gold, it is a prized metal, both for its beauty and usefulness.

Silver (atomic number 47) is sometimes found in the Earth as the mineral native silver. Its chemical symbol is Ag, after the Latin word Argentum. Silver has a bright, metallic luster, and when untarnished, has a white color. Silver is found combined with a number of different elements to form a variety of minerals and ores. It is also found in very small amounts (called trace amounts) in gold, lead, zinc, and copper ores.

As a mineral, silver crystallizes in the cubic (isometric) system. In rare cases it forms crystals. Usually it is found in thin sheets or as long wires and bundles of wires, as in these drawings of native silver from Colorado. Silver is rather soft at 2 to 3 on Mohs' hardness scale. Like gold, it is malleable which means it can be hammered into thin sheets. It is also ductile, meaning it can be drawn into wire.




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