# Atomic Number: 47
# Chemical Symbol: Ag
# Electronic Configuration: [Kr]4d105s1
Silver has been known since ancient times. It is mentioned in Genesis.
Slag dumps in Asia Minor and on islands in the Aegean Sea indicate that man learned to separate silver from
lead as early as 3000 B.C. Well-to-do Romans began to use silver dining utensils around the first century
BC, during the late Republic. Three centuries later, in the Imperial era, the use of silver dining accessories
had increased sharply. A complete set of silver tableware became a highly sought-after status symbol for the
The most common occurrences of silver are in association with base metals
and other precious metals. About 75% to 80% of the silver mined today is produced as a byproduct of mining
operations directed mainly at the production of copper, gold, lead, or zinc. A large part of silver production
is, therefore, relatively insensitive to the price of silver. The main silver mineral is the argentite (Ag2S),
which usually occurs associated to other sulfides as copper or lead sulfide. Other silver minerals are
cerargirite (AgCl), proustite (3Ag2S.Ag2S3), pirargirite (3Ag2S.Sb2S3), stefanite (5Ag2S.Sb2S3) and native
silver. The silver occurs in most of the lead and copper ores, and associated to cobalt and gold arsenide.
Most of the produced silver is a by-product of the extraction process of these metals. However there are some
mines specially devoted to the extraction of this element. The largest world producers of silver are the USA,
Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, former-USSR, Australia and Germany.
Prior to World War II, the major uses for silver, other than in coinage, were
for jewelry and sterling ware. During the war, however, technological advances were made in electronics and
photography. After the war, this technology was used to develop new consumer products. As the demand for consumer
goods increased, so did the demand for silver, and, as a result, the market price increased. The higher market
price, however, did not result in increased mine production. The most important alloy of this element is silver-
copper, traditionally used in producing coins. Nowadays this alloy was replaced by a cheaper alloy,