This week on Mineral Monday we look at the mineral silver. What properties does this silver-coloured mineral have? Other than being able to kill vampires?

Pure silver is a beautiful metal with a brilliant white luster. It is stable in pure air and water, but tarnishes when exposed to ozone, hydrogen sulfide or air containing sulfur. It is slightly harder than gold but still very ductile and malleable. The only more ductile metals are gold and perhaps palladium. Pure silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals and the lowest contact resistance.

The world silver is from the Anglo-Saxon word seolfor. The chemical symbol is Ag (Latin: argentum, from the Indo-European root *arg- for “grey” or “shining”)

People have known about silver since ancient time and is even mentioned in the Bible.

Fact Sheet


Mercury and silver are the main components of dental amalgam. They are biocides thereby inhibit recurrent decay. It kills bacteria by chemically affecting the cell membranes causing them to break down. Bacteria do not develop resistance to silver as they do to many antibiotics.

Smelly shoes? Just apply some silver and the odor is under control. Silver is used in sports and everyday clothing for this. Who needs deo when you have silver, right? It also helps in regulating body heat.  Since it is a biocide, it can also be used in bandages for wound care and minor skin infection treatment.

Most mirrors are backed with aluminium but for a superior quality reflection, silver is used. Silver has on of the highest reflectivity of any mineral meaning it reflects nearly all the light.

Silver Ring rockesci

The best conductor for electricity is silver. A very useful feature in photography. Silver halide crystals are found in unexposed film. Photography production requires silver nitrate, or lunar caustic, compound.

Silver oxide-zinc batteries have a really long life. Those ones Energizer is always on about.

Silver has a hardness of just 2.5 meaning it has to be strengthened by alloying with some copper.

Throughout the ages, silver jewelry has been associated with magical powers; believed to promote healing, bring good luck and for warding off evil spirits to the wearer and ‘killing vampires’.

Just like gold, silver is edible. Although it is not advisable to do so. But people in India do sprinkle some on their food. Vark.

Sterling silver is made up of 92.5 % silver.


The term ‘born with a silver spoon in the mouth’ first meant born with good health before it came to mean born with great wealth.


Substitutes: Digital imaging, film with reduced silver content, silverless black-and-white film, and xerography substitute for silver that has traditionally been used in black-and-white as well as color printing applications. Surgical pins and plates may be made with tantalum and titanium in place of silver. Stainless steel may be substituted for silver flatware, and germanium added to silver flatware will make it tarnish resistant. Nonsilver batteries may replace silver batteries in some applications. Aluminum and rhodium may be used to replace silver that was traditionally used in mirrors and other reflecting surfaces. Silver may be used to replace more costly metals in catalytic converters for off-road vehicles.

In Short




Atomic No.


Atomic Mass


Electrical Config.

Kr 4d10 5s1

Melting Point


Boiling Point

2162 °C


 10.49 g/m3





Price: About Sh. 70, 000 /kg

Occurence: In Kenya Silver is found in Western Kenya, in the Nyanzian Craton

Silver Minerals



World Production [2012]

Rank Country/Region Silver production (tons)
 World 24,000
1 Mexico 4,250
2 China 3,800
3 Peru 3,450



  • Currency
  • Jewelry/Silverware
  • Dentistry
  • Photography
  • Mirrors and Optics
  • Medicine
  • Clothing




Most of the applications of silver are covered above.






So that is all we have for you on today’s mineral monday. Do you have another use of silver? Let us know.

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