The mining of silver began some 5000 years ago,
Silver was first mined in about 3000 B.C. in Anatolia (modern day Turkey). These early lodes were a valuable resource for the civilizations that flourished in the Near East, Crete, and Greece throughout antiquity.
Today, more than 5000 years after ancient cultures first began to mine this precious metal, yearly global mine production averages 671 million troy ounces.
Silver jewelry has long been prized for its brilliant luster and its easy workability. Pure silver, also known as 999 fineness, is highly tarnish resistant, but too soft for use in jewelry. Silversmiths often alloy it with other metals like copper, to harden it. Sterling silver, for example, is 92.5 % silver and 7.5 % copper. Sterling silver is a silver jewelry standard in many countries and has been since the 14th century. This popular alloy is ideal for silver earrings, silver bracelets and silver necklaces because its durability ensures pieces will stay securely fastened when worn.
Today, we are seeing silver on the runway like never before. Style, the price of gold and a growing market for mid-priced jewelry have led many jewelry and fashion designers to turn to silver as their medium of choice. silver is an international superstar in the fashion world.
At the highest level, though, demand for silver breaks down into three important categories: silver in industry, investment, and silver jewelry & décor. Together, these three areas represent more than 95 % of annual silver demand. In 2014, 594.9 million ounces of silver were used for industrial applications, while over 215.0 million ounces of silver were committed to silver jewelry and 196.0 million ounces were used in coins and medals.
With unique properties including its strength, malleability and ductility, its electrical and thermal conductivity, its sensitivity to and high reflectance of light and the ability to endure extreme temperature ranges, it is an element without substitution.