Although silver is relatively scarce, it is the most plentiful and least expensive of the precious metals. The largest silver producing countries are Mexico, Peru, the United States, Australia and Chile. Sources of silver include silver mined directly, silver mined as a by-product of gold, copper, lead and zinc mining, and silver extracted from recycled materials, primarily used photographic materials. Today, silver bullion stocks make up a significant component of silver supply.
The demand for silver comes primarily from three areas: industrial uses, jewelry and silverware, and photography. These industries represent 95 percent of annual silver consumption. Silver’s superior properties make it a highly desirable industrial component. Silver’s artistic beauty and status make it one of the most romantic and sought-after precious metals.
Diversity is silver’s primary asset. Its unique properties include beauty, strength, sensitivity to light, malleability and ductility, electrical and thermal conductivity, reflectivity and the ability to endure extreme temperature changes. These properties allow groundbreaking research to be conducted by scientists and engineers that affect the way we live.
Silver more than other precious metals, has significant demand rooted in sectors as diverse as imaging, electronics, jewelry, coinage, superconductivity and water purification. For this reason, silver is no longer known as just a precious metal, a store of value, a work of art or an industrial metal. It is all of these. Today silver is indispensable, working all around us to improve the quality of our lives.
To learn more about the uses of silver, please visit:
The Silver Institute.