Silver is a precious metal and is always associated with success, glamour and wealth. Silver has been used in fashionable and glamorous jewellery throughout history. Perfect for fine chains, necklaces, earrings, rings and brooches, silver is a versatile precious metal. White and shining silver is also the ideal complement to diamonds and other precious gemstones.
Silver is one the most popular precious metals. As with other precious metals silver is ductile and malleable, which means that it can be drawn into wire or beaten into sheets and is therefore ideal for use in jewellery.
Silver has uses other than jewellery. Through history silver has been used to carry wine, water, milk and other liquids and substances to preserve them and stop them going off. Silver contacts were used on the first telegraphy machine in 1832 and silver nitrate is the substance that made photography possible.
The chemical symbol is Ag, derived from the latin for silver, Argentum, meaning white or shining. Sterling silver is the name of the purity of silver usually used in jewellery and silverware. Sterling silver is an alloy 92.5% silver. Sterling silver is slightly harder than pure silver.
Although silver is relatively rare, it is more abundant than the other precious metals. The largest silver producing countries are Mexico, Peru, United States, Australia and Chile.
Silver was first mined and used for jewellery during the Bronze Age. Silver was mined near to the surface in this period and could be found all over Europe and West Asia.
In 500BC the state of Athens discovered a large silver mine on government land just outside Athens at a place called Laurian. The silver mine allowed the Athens government to build a strong navy and for Greece to become a powerful state.
Important and historical mines also existed in places such as Southern Spain, where the Carthaginians and after them the Romans mined silver to fund their military conquests.
The discovery of the New World in 1492 was a turning point in the history of silver with the discovery of silver in Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. In 1850 the Comstock Lode was discovered in Nevada, America, and big finds were made in Australia and Europe. As a result silver production from this period exploded in the US and worldwide. In 1792 silver became key to the American economy when the US currency became based one the silver dollar until 1965.
Today silver is sought as a valuable and practical industrial commodity and investment. Silver is also used in photography, silverware and for jewellery.
As with all precious metals, silver jewellery will carry a hallmark declaring its quality and authenticity.
The best way to keep your silver looking great is to wear it as this stops it oxidising with the air and tarnishing. When not worn, store it in soft pouch to prevent scratching. Avoid contact with perfume, hairspray and cleaning products to maintain the shine.
To clean your silver jewellery, H.Samuel stocks a great range of cleaning products including sprays and wipes. If your silver jewellery needs repairing, you can also bring it to H.Samuel for a repair service.
Discover our complete range of stunning silver jewellery now.