Chemical Element: silver

(Modern Latin: from Anglo-Saxon, sealfor, siolfur; the symbol is from Latin argentum, "silver"; metal)

Chemical-Element Information

Symbol: Ag
Atomic number: 47
Year discovered: Prehistoric; known since ancient times.

Discovered by: Unknown

  • Together with gold, iridium, palladium, and platinum; silver is considered one of the so-called "precious metals".
  • Because of its comparative scarcity, brilliant white color, malleability, and resistance to atmospheric oxidation, it has long been used in the manufacture of articles of value such as coins, ornaments, and jewelry.
  • In addition to uses as jewelry, etc., silver has a number of applications, most of which depend on its high thermal or electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance.
  • When it has been hardened by elements such as copper or gold, it is used in electrical contacts.
  • Early Roman records show that before the use of the term “argentum”, the word “Luna” and a crescent moon symbol were used for silver.
  • The actual use of silver dates far back into antiquity; however, it is believed that gold and copper were the first metals to be worked by man.
  • By 800 B.C. it is probable that both gold and silver were used as money in all countries between the Indus and the Nile.
  • The Romans probably advanced the art and science of metallurgy of silver further than any other people up to their time.
  • From about 1850, 65 per cent or more of the world production of silver was derived as a by-product in the smelting and refining of copper, lead, and zinc ores.

Name in other languages:

French: argent

German: Silber

Italian: argento

Spanish: plata

Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.

A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.

If you came here from the unit argento- about "silver", you may return there again by clicking on this link: argento-, argent-, argenti-.