Silver is a precious metal with the symbol Ag and an atomic number of 47. Among all metals, it has the most thermal and electrical conductivity. How many of these fun silver facts did you know?
- Silver was discovered so long ago that there is no record of who was the first to identify it as a unique element: As silver is less common as a native metal than gold, it actually had a higher value than gold in Ancient Egypt.
- Different geographic areas have been the world’s leading silver producers over the ages: Central Europe was the leading producer in the middle ages, although South America became the primary producer around the 18th century. In recent times, Mexico and Poland are two nations that have the highest silver production rates.
- Silver was used in the production of currencies around the world for centuries: It is no longer typically used in coinage due to its relatively higher value, but in the past it was present in the Indian rupee, Spanish dollar and Greek drachma.
- Silver actually plays a major role in the world of medicine, due to its antibiotic properties: It can be used to treat external infections, and can also be taken internally in certain formats.
- That said, exposure to some forms of silver compounds can be detrimental to the health of animals and humans: Silver fluoride and silver nitrate are both caustic and can cause serious injury if ingested.
Fun Silver Facts:
- The largest silver nugget ever discovered was a massive 1,840 pounds (830 kg) in 1894: The nugget was found at the Smuggler Mine in Aspen, Colorado. At the peak of the mine’s production, it was responsible for 20% of the world’s silver output.
- There is a great legend about the discovery of the Smuggler Mine that involves a hunter’s poor aim: The story is that a hunter missed when trying to shoot a deer, and his bullet instead struck a rock, splitting it to reveal silver inside.
- The price of silver reached an all time high in 1980 of $50.35 per troy ounce: Part of the reason driving the high price was due to two brothers purchasing a massive amount of silver in what was described as an attempt to corner the market. Their plan ended up failing as they eventually declared bankruptcy.
- Some dishes in India and Pakistan use a form of leaf silver known as vark as decoration: Some studies have revealed that up to 10% of the foils that are claimed to be silver were actually aluminium instead.