Silver Facts
Silver Facts

37 Glittering Silver Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published November 3, 2018Updated September 5, 2019
  • The term "quicksilver" actually refers to mercury. The Greek name for mercury was "hydrargyros," or literally "liquid silver," which gives the element its symbol, Hg.[1]
  • Silver has the highest reflectivity of any metal, which makes it useful in manufacturing mirrors, telescopes, microscopes, and solar cells.[9]
  • Silver conducts electricity better than any other substance. In fact, silver is the standard by which other conductors are measured. On scale of 100, silver is 100 in terms of electrical conductivity.[9]
  • Humans discovered silver around 5,000 BC, and by at least 3,000 BC, they had learned to separate silver from other elements.[9]
  • Silver is rarely found in its pure state in nature. Rather, it is usually combined with other elements, such as sulfur, lead, or copper, in what is known as ore.[1]
  • In addition to its decorative functions, silver also has many practical uses. Everyday objects such as batteries, computer keyboards, light switches, solar cells, and water purifiers all contain silver or its compounds.[9]
  • Silver Moon Fact
    Because silver is luminous and pliable, it was historically linked with the moon and feminine energy
  • Early chemists, called alchemists, likened silver to the moon and feminine powers because of silver's lustrous appearance and pliability.[9]
  • Silver is one of more than 100 elements that make up the universe.[1]
  • Gold is nearly twice as dense as silver.[1]
  • Even though silver is a better electrical conductor than copper, its higher cost makes it a less attractive option for wiring.[1]
  • The world's top producers of silver are Mexico, Peru, and China.[1]
  • In ancient Egypt and medieval Europe, silver was more valuable than gold.[1]
  • The moon is a silver pin-head vast, that holds the heaven's tent-hangings fast.

    - William R. Alger, "The Use of the Moon,"Poetry of the Orient

  • The chemical symbol for silver is Ag, which is derived from the Proto-Indo-European word "herg," meaning "shiny" or "white."[1]
  • While silver is more abundant than gold in its alloy state, it is more rare than gold in its pure state.[1]
  • Silver was one of only seven metals known up until the 13th century when arsenic was discovered. Today there are 86 known metals.[1]
  • Silver is not toxic to humans and can be used as a food decoration. However, some silver salts are toxic.[1]
  • No word in the English language rhymes with "silver."[10]
  • Silver is a germicide, meaning it kills bacteria and other simple organisms. Consequently, throughout history, humans have used the metal to treat wounds and prevent infection.[1]
  • Some homeopathic enthusiasts are fond of drinking silver, because they believe the metal's antibacterial properties will kill germs. However, drinking too much silver turns people blue, a condition known as argyria. 
  • Homeopathic Silver
    The same chemical reaction with silver that develops black-and-white photographs also pigments human skin

  • Silver conducts heat better than any other metal.[9]
  • Silver is one of the seven metals of antiquity, which include gold, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury. These seven metals helped forge the modern world.[1]
  • When stars explode into supernovas, they create silver.[9]
  • Since 700 BC, silver has been used as money, beginning in modern-day Turkey. From then, it has been used in every major civilization, from the Greeks to the current-day United States.[9]
  • Silver was once mined in a German town called "Joachim's Valley." Coins minted from this mine were called "joachmisthaler," which was shortened into "thaler," which later morphed into the word "dollar."[3]
  • One ounce of silver can be drawn into a wire 8,000 feet (2438.4 meters) long. Only gold is more ductile than silver.[9]
  • Amazing Silver Facts
    A single grain of silver can pressed into a sheet 150 times thinner than a typical piece of paper

  • The Sanskrit word for wrought silver is "rupya," from which the Indian word for money, "rupee," evolved, as well as Indonesia's rupiah.[3]
  • Russia's and Belarus' ruble are named after a measure of weight for silver.[3]
  • The King James Bible mentions silver 320 times.[5]
  • In the United States, an alloy can only be considered silver it it contains at least 90% silver.[1]
  • The Coinage Act of 1792 established that the silver dollar would be the unit of currency in the United States. From this, the following silver coins were created: the silver dollar, half-dollar, quarter dollar, dime, and half dime.[4]
  • Werewolf Fact
    Another theory is that because silver is associated with the moon, the moon would be toxic to werewolves, much like Kryptonite was toxic to Superman
  • In mythology, silver bullets are the only way to kill werewolves. Lycanthropy was viewed as a blood-borne virus. Because silver was commonly used medicinally in the past, a silver bullet would kill the virus and, consequently, the werewolf.[11]
  • The Coinage Act of 1792 in the United States declared that anyone caught debasing or making counterfeit silver coins would suffer the death penalty.[4]
  • According to legend, Mohammad wore a silver signet ring, which made silver jewelry one of the few accepted forms of decoration for men of Islamic faith.[1]
  • Silver represents a couple's 25th marriage anniversary.[7]
  • Because silver is more affordable and useful than gold, it is often referred to as "the poor man's gold."[6]
  • The Lone Ranger used silver bullets to represent justice, law, and order, and to remind himself and others that life, like silver, has value. In reality, silver bullets are less effective than lead.[8]
  • Nevada produces about 1/3 of all U.S. silver.[1]
  • Fun Silver Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Silver Infographic

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