History of silver
Silver metal is one of the four precious metals, along with gold, platinum and palladium.
The name silver is uncertain: it probably derives from the Latin Argentum Over the centuries, silver has been used in various fields and remains a coveted metal.
White and shiny, this precious metal has been used since antiquity. Its first extraction dates back 5,000 years: silver metal was extracted from the bowels of the earth in Anatolia (Turkey) in 3000 BC.
The first silver metal to be extracted was from the sea.
Throughout antiquity, the first veins discovered contributed to the enrichment of civilizations in the Near East, but also Greece and Crete.
The exploitation of silver increased considerably in the 16th century with the discovery of the New World.
From ancient times to the present day, silver metal has always been used in various forms, containers, ornaments, jewellery, currencies, etc. Today, silver is still present in our daily lives without us even realising it. It remains a precious metal much sought after for its many qualities.
Silver metal has always been used for jewellery making. It must always be fused with copper so that it does not remain malleable. Thus, for jewellery, there are two kinds of alloys:
- Sterling silver with 925 thousandths silver metal and 75 thousandths copper,
- Britannia silver with 958 thousandths silver metal and 42 thousandths copper.
Over the centuries, the demand for silver metal has continued to grow. But since 2013, supply has failed to cover this demand. Yet global silver metal production was 27,000 tonnes in 2018. According to experts, silver reserves will be depleted after one or two decades.
The depletion of silver reserves is a major concern for the global economy.
The scarcity of silver metal will surely influence its value in the coming years.