Silver, a precious white and brilliant metal, the origin of the word which would come from an indo-European etymon arg-signifying 'brilliant' would be the Sanskrit equivalent of ar-jun signifying « brilliant ».
It is the best conductor of heat and electricity of all metals, and one of the earliest known metals.
Money is a transitional element; It has been known and valued since antiquity - silver mines were probably exploited since 2500 BC. J.-C.
The alchemists called silver 'metal of the moon'».
Appreciated for its particular white luster, it is a relatively ductile and malleable metal.
It is harder than gold, but softer than copper.
Silver used in jewelery is alloyed with a small amount of copper to make it harder and resistant (92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, for silver 925 thousandths).
Copper silver alloys are white if the copper content is less than 50 %.
Silver is poorly reactive and insoluble in dilute base acids but dissolves in concentrated nitric or sulfuric acid.
It does not react with oxygen or water at room temperature.
Sulfur and sulfides attack silver : The tarnishing of the metal is due to the formation of silver sulphide on the surface, which is why the agents which contain a large quantity of sulfur dull it extremely rapidly.
Small quantities of sulfur in the atmosphere (such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S) added to domestic natural gas to make it odorous to detect it in the event of a leak) have the same effect.
Silver jewelry does not represent the biggest use of silver.
The silver is used to coat the smooth surfaces of the mirrors, however aluminum has largely replaced it in this application and the advent of digital has contributed to considerably reduce the need for silver of the photography industry.
The industrial sector is the largest consumer, because of its excellent electrical conductivity, silver is also used in many electrical and electronic applications.
Silver has a bactericidal action and some compounds are used in medicine as antiseptics and bactericides.
Argyrol, composed of silver protein, is an antiseptic for the eyes, ears, nose and throat.
It was used in utensils intended for children to protect them from diseases whose origin was not known at those times.
The expression born with a silver spoon in the mouth comes from this phenomenon, its recent use as an indication of wealth is only a consequence.
The Venetians transported water, wine and vinegar in silver tanks to conserve them ; During the conquest of the American West, the pioneers protected their water reserve by placing silver coins in their bottles or barrels.
Its absorption into the blood circulation of the human body has no direct effect but an excess called argyrism gives a bluish gray complexion.
Silver can be recycled or extracted either from mines of which it is the main metal or from mines of other metals whose silver is somehow a by-product.
The discovery of America allowed the Europeans to extract enormous quantities of silver, especially in Potosí (Bolivia) almost a ton a day at the apogee.
Argentina derives its name from this metal, and plata refers to it, as in French, metal and notes.
We thus find the word plata in Río de la Plata, river of Argentina and Uruguay.
Several metallurgical processes are used to extract silver from other metals.
Mercury was used in the old amalgamation process.
In leaching processes, silver is dissolved in a salt solution, usually sodium cyanide, and then precipitated by contacting the solution with metallic zinc or aluminum.
The Parker process ('parkerization') is widely used to extract silver from copper and lead.
The impure silver obtained in the metallurgical processes is generally refined by electrolytic methods or by coupellation, the process consisting in removing the impurities by oxidation.