The History of Silver
The history of silver dates back to the ancient times just after the mining of gold and copper began. It was historically second in value only to gold at that time. It is said that due to the abundance of silver metal in Peru, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro had his horses shod with silver horseshoes. In America, there were not only gold rushes in but also silver rushes. Silver mining was a driving force in the settlement of the Western North America. In 1859, on the eastern slope of Davidson Mountain in USA, the first major silver ore deposits were discovered. The Silver was plentiful in Europe, Canada, America, Australia, China and few other countries.
Back in the Bronze Age, silver was mined from the surface of the earth and its underground. At the very beginning, people didn’t realize there was lead in the silver ore which was very poisonous. Many people who were mining for silver also got lead poisoning from it and died a few years later. After people figured out the reason, they made their slaves risk their lives and mine the silver for them because the silver had very high value and demand.
At around the year of 500BC, an enormous silver mine, called the Laurion was found near Athens, Greece. This mining of silver and the profits received were used to pay for Athens' first Navy and it also helped Athens become a powerful city.
Southern Spain also had a many silver mines. The money earned from these mines was used to pay the Romans after the first Punic War. In the Second Punic War, the Romans took over these mines and used the income from the silver to pay for more conquests.
Mexico was listed as the world’s second largest silver producer right after Peru. It supplied15 percent of the annual production of silver in the world. Mexico and Peru had huge silver mines and it was said that more than three quarters of silver in the world came from these two countries. In 2007, global mine production of silver was around 671 million ounces. Today, Mexico and Peru are still the biggest producers of silver in the world. It is estimated that around 1/5 of all silvers in the world come from Mexico.
The silver has mostly been used for coins since ancient Greece. The displaying of decorative arts, dinner ware and jewelry in homes reflected the wealth and prosperity of the owner during the Renaissance. Due to the extreme popularity of silver not only was dinner ware manufactuer but addtionl table ware and body adornments were made as well. The silver products became very fashionable in 19th century. The new technology improved the mining of silver and enhanced its quantity, quality and value. Along with gold, silver remains a popular metal for jewelry until today.
Silver was like gold which was considered a sacred metal. Silver is malleable which is ideal for makeing jewelry and ornaments, coins and decorations. Throughout the ages, the magnificentsilver jewelry was a way for people to present their power, wealth and social status.
Due to the fact that pure silver is too soft to be used to make jewely, the alloy called sterling silver which consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper was always used instead. Sterling silver has a high value of the silver, and it’s more durable and workable. The beauty and affordability of the silver make silver products more and more popular nowadays.