Silver, fabulous silver! Silver is one of the ‘noble’ metals, meaning it is resistant to corrosion and oxidation in moist air. It is also a ‘precious’ metal – a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.
Silver is the 47th element on the periodic table. The chemical symbol for silver is Ag – from the latin word for silver, Argentum.
Fine silver is 100% pure silver. The sterling silver that I work with is made up of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper. The copper is added to strengthen the silver, as fine silver is too soft to hold a refined shape. Silver is the second most malleable and ductile metal (the first being gold). The specific gravity of silver is 10.4.
Fine silver melts at 961 degrees celsius. Sterling silver melts at 893 degrees celsius, and it is annealed at 648 degrees celsius. Zinc is added to silver to make silver solder.
Silver is the metal with the highest heat and electrical conductivity. It is used in jewellery, tableware, industry and for coinage.