Monday, 13 December 2010

Silver [Ag]

silver
Silver [chemical symbol Ag]
Silver is quite simply a lustrous, white and shiny chemical element.

Properties of silver
Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any other metal. To the present day, silver is produced as a by-product of copper, lead, gold and zinc refining.

Silver is malleable and ductile and is regarded as a "precious metal" alongside Platinum and Gold.

Uses of Silver
The high conductivity and low contact resistance of silver makes it very useful to use within electrical contactors and various other electronic equipment. However, the high price of silver means that often other metals are used in its place i.e copper and aluminium.

Read about: silver in the home

Silver is better known for its uses in jewelry. The "shiny white metal" can be polished to a high degree to emphasise even more its lustrous white properties.

In the recent years, silvers use in the health industry has been on the increase. Silver compounds are known to show a toxic effect on bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. Our ancient ancestors used silver for many years in water carriers and wells to help fight bacteria in the water.

Silver bullion and investing in silver
Up until recent years silver was used in common currency throughout the world. Silver currency can still be bought today in the form of old coins, officially minted coins, bullion and silver future shares.

The mintage of silver which can be obtained does vary. The purest form of silver [999] can be bought in bullion bars and coins. Older coins generally have a lower mintage as they were actually used as currency. The soft properties of silver mean that circulated coins and jewelry are generally part silver, part copper, to strenthen the metal. Mintages can vary from 10% to 92.5% silver, 90-92.5 being the most common.

Since a brief spike in the price of silver in 1980 where the spot price nearly hit $50 an ounce, silver has had a fairly steady run. Presently, silver is on the rise and becoming a very interesting investment opportunity. Worldwide investors are continuing to buy into silver futures to protect their assets and maybe even make money on the continuing rise in the price of silver.

The current price of silver as of December 2010 is varying between $27-29 an ounce [£17-18 per ounce].
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