Posted by Chip | Posted in Reference And Education | Posted on 15-03-2014
Silver (argentum): has an atomic number of 47 which means it is the 47th element on the periodic table and carries 47 electrons. It has a hardness rated between 2.5 and 2.7 and is therefore one of the most malleable of all metals. Silver is a white, lustrous metal prized for its purity and formability and because it can achieve the most brilliant polish of any metal.
The first major source of mined silver, is generally considered to be Turkey which served as the main source of silver for the near East, Crete and Greece. The early Egyptians used silver in their religious ceremonies and to create their articles of worship and it was considered more precious than gold.
However a concentrated effort to mine silver began around 3000B.C. and the first sophisticated processing of the mined ore has been attributed to the Chaldeans at around 2500B.C. After the destruction of the Minoan empire in 1600B.C. the mines of Laurium, near Athens became the leading producers of mined silver. These mines proved to be highly productive, and for approximately 1000 years the Laurium mines were the largest source of silver in the world.
The end of the monopoly of the Laurium mines saw the Romans exploiting silver mines in Spain and throughout Europe and Italy and Spain were pressed to meet the growing trading needs of Greece and Asia Minor. When the Moors invaded Spain it became necessary for the mining of silver to be expanded to more countries, mainly in central Europe and several new large deposits were discovered between 720 and 1200 A.D. But the real expansion in the production of silver occurred in a 500 year period between 100-1500A.D, when new developments were made in the mining and processing of silver.
Even more significant was the discovery of seemingly almost infinite deposits of silver in the New World, and the first of these was in the Potosi District of Bolivia. At the same time major deposits were also found and mined in Mexico with the bulk of mining occurring between 1700 to 1800A.D. The development of ‘mercury amalgamation’ process enabled more silver to be taken from the ore and so silver production around the world increase exponentially during this time through discovery and better refining methods.
For over 300 years, from 1500A.D. to 1800A.D. Mexico, Boliva and Peru accounted for over 85% of the world production of silver and trade, with the remaining portion obtained mainly from Germany, Hungary and Russia. From 1850, other countries like the US increased production and silver production increased again worldwide.
Interesting Facts About Silver:
Silver can be hammered into sheets so thin that it would take 100,000 of them to stack 2.5 centimetres high. It is this formability that makes silver such a wonderful art form for the artisans throughout history. Silver can be shaped by hammering, spinning (like wool), or drawing (like toffee), it can be melted and poured into moulds, and can be decorated with etching, engraving or chasing. Known as the queen of metals, not the least because it has a known association with the moon and the moon goddess Lunai from times of antiquity. Silver has been closely associated with the moon and lunar influences and used for magical utensils and ornaments for thousands of years. It is closely related to Isis, queen of Egyptian goddesses and the traits of creativity, flexibility and emotion. It is one of the seven sacred metals, and used in alchemical processes by the original ‘scientists’ those wizards of old called alchemists such as Merlinus Arturius and Isaac Newton. Silver is known is also a part of the ancient chakra system of the Hindi’s and associated with the 6th chakra or 3rd Eye seen as the bridge between the human and the divine. This chakra is compared to empty space, free form a place of purity and unity, the site of bliss.
Silver also has medical uses: a silver coin was often dropped into a jug of milk to help prevent it from souring, in Vedic medicine silver water was known to cleanse the liver and spleen. More recently until sometime in the 1930′s silver compounds were used as a normal part of medicine, with silver nitrate being the main compound used. Silver Iodide was even used immediately at birth in babies eyes to prevent infections that resulted in blindness.
Even today we can find Colloidal Silver in use as a natural remedy for infections and many swear by it. Amazing Uses of Silver: Invisible silver is a transparent coating of silver on the double pane in thermal windows; silver enjoys greater reflectivity than gold and can achieve the most brilliant polish; silver is the best electrical conductor of all metals. Wearing Silver Silver artisans are some of the most highly skilled artisans in the world today. Only the finest craftsmen in each generation became master silversmiths, this evolution throughout the centuries has created a tradition of excellence in both artistry and craftsmanship that is found only in the silver field. The meaning of the word jewellery is derived from the word, jewel, which is the anglicised form of the French word ‘jouel’ and even further back to the Latin word ‘jocale’ which means toy or plaything. Jewellery is one of the oldest forms of body adornment, and although it has been used to pin clothes together and as a form of wealth storage in ingot form, it is still mainly used throughout history for decoration.
Silver jewellery was once used to indicate status as it was restricted for use by only the wealthiest and noblest of all up until the end of the 18th century. It was only through the Industrial Revolution, through mass manufacturing that jewellery finally became available to the general public. It is seen on its own and embedded with precious or semiprecious stones in areas all over the world and from many areas of history including; Mesopotamia, China, Japan, Egypt, Africa, Greece, Rome, India, Mexico (Mayans), Indian Tribes of North America, Peru (Aztecs), and the British Isles (Celts).
Nowadays we have access to all kinds of silver jewellery from many modern pieces being wrought on a daily basis, to purchasing antique pieces with real history. Silver is still beautiful and for many, more affordable than gold. Wearing a find piece of silver jewellery can give the wearer a feeling of confidence and beauty and create the finishing touch to any outfit.
Big, bold and sassy pieces from around the world abound, and it can be such an amazing feeling to find just the perfect piece for you. Choosing from Tibetan, Mexican, Italian or other amazing styles is half the fun and finding such pieces has been made even easier by the internet, although buying from a reputable business is key to ensuring your investment is worthwhile.