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General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Ag
Atomic Number Atomic number::47
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::107.8682 g/mol
Chemical series Transition metals
Appearance Metallic
Sample silver.jpg
Group, Period, Block 11, 5, d
Electron configuration [Kr] 4d10 5s1
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 18, 1
Electron shell silver.png
CAS number CAS number::7440-22-4
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density Density::10.5 (@300°K) g/ml
Melting point Melting point::961.78 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::2163 °C
Isotopes of Silver
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
105Ag syn 41.2 d ε - 105Pd
105Ag syn 41.2 d γ 0.344, 0.280, 0.644, 0.443 -
106mAg syn 8.28 d ε - 106Pd
106mAg syn 8.28 d γ 0.511, 0.717, 1.045, 0.450 -
107Ag 51.839% 107Ag is stable with 60 neutrons.
108mAg syn 418 y ε - 108Pd
108mAg syn 418 y IT 0.109 108Ag
108mAg syn 418 y γ 0.433, 0.614, 0.722 -
109Ag 48.161% 109Ag is stable with 62 neutrons.
111Ag syn 7.45 d β- 1.036, 0.694 111Cd
111Ag syn 7.45 d γ 0.342 -
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Silver is a chemical element that is part of a group known as the transitional metals. It has the atomic number 47 with the chemical name known as Ag. It is recognized as one of the "precious metals" ascribed to it's comparative insufficiency, vivid white sparkle/color, ductility, pliability, and ability to resist oxidation from the atmosphere. It is also known for it's ability to help cure and prevent illnesses and infection; and although there does seem to be much history of using silver in medicine, there is no confirmation on whether or not it really enhances one's overall health (see below, "Medicine Uses and Colloidal silver article").


This is silver paste that is viewed through a scanning electron microscope.

Silver is an extremely cushioned metal. It's appearance varies, depending on what specific compound it is in. [1] It has a silvery, white metallic luster and is just a little bit firmer than gold. Silver is extremely ductile and malleable, meaning that it is capable of being hammered out thin, and is also capable of being hammered and molded into shape. Pure silver itself, possesses the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all the metals. However, silver also has the lowest contact resistance of all metals, meaning that the electrical resistance is extremely low. [2] Silver that is immature (fresh or brand new) and that has just been deposited makes for the best known reflector of conspicuous light. However, it quickly blemishes and depletes it's almost impeccable reflectance.

Silver is recognized as one of the "noble" transitional metals, meaning that it is one of the least reactive metals of the group. Being a "non-toxic" element, silver still has several poisonous salts caused by the presence of it's anions. Humans should not be exposed to silver any more than forty hours a week. If being handled for too long, the circulatory system will begin to absorb the poisonous silver compounds. This will cause reduced silver deposition in the tissues of the body, which is a condition known as argyria. This is a condition where one's skin and mucous membranes will become a grayish color. Silver has the same effects germs do, and can eat away at the lower class organisms.[3]


Silver is extensively dispersed in nature. However, the overall amount of silver found is small when compared to other metals. Silver composes 0.05 parts per million of the Earth's crust. Almost all sulfides of lead, copper, and zinc encompass some trace of silver. Ores that contain silver can have even a small sliver of silver, or up to several thousand troy ounces of it per avoirdupois, in other words, up to around ten percent. Silver is found in many naturally occurring elements. For silver, the commercial deposits that are the most important are the compounds that are the minerals tetrahedrite and argentite. These are typically identified with other sulfides like lead and copper. Silver is normally found in ores that are either lead, copper, or cobalt arsenide. Silver is also continually found with gold in nature.[4]

The central silver mineral is the argentite. Argentite is an ore of silver. An ore is a kind of rock that withholds minerals; these minerals contain critical elements including metals. Since argentite is the main ore of silver, it is correlated with other sulfides such as lead and copper sulfides. There are various other silver minerals including: cerargirite (AgCl), proustite (3Ag2S.Ag2S3), pirargirite (3Ag2S.Sb2S3), stefanite (5Ag2S.Sb2S3), and the native silver itself. Silver transpires in several of the lead and copper ores. It is also connected with cobalt and gold arsenide. Most of the silver that is produced is actually a by-product of the extraction of other metals such as lead, gold, and copper. Nevertheless, there are still mines that are devout to just the extraction of silver. [5] Pure silver is retrieved from the fraction by a blend of smelting, and fire or electrorefining.[6]

The most immense world producers of silver are: the USA, Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Soviet Union, Australia, and Germany.[7] However the top countries in order are: Peru, Mexico, China, Australia, Chile, Canada, Poland, U.S., South Africa and more.


Silver is often used for jewelry; here we see a Snow White Culture Pearl set in a sterling silver wire wrapped ring.


Silver's alloys have several different uses for the commercial marketing and industry. It can be used for various different things such as silverware, jewelry, batteries, mirrors, photography, dental materials and compounds, and much more. [8] Pure silver is softer and harder to fuse; therefore most industries use silver alloys with copper, making it stronger and more durable, and more fusible. Silver alloys that are used with copper is what is used for jewelry and coinage. Looking at silver's timeline, one will see that silver was used historically in several major uses. It was used in the form of silver bullion, and coins. However, in the 1960's the demand for silver for industrial reasons and manufacturing, overreached the annual world's production. [9] Silver nitrate is the most vital silver inorganic compound. Silver nitrate is used in many things such as: xerography, painting, chemical electroplating, and parts are used in electric batteries. It also acts as a catalyst for various kinds of today's medicine. [10] The compounds of silver are consumed by the body; there they stay located in the blood stream until they're unloaded in the mucous membranes, which will create a sort of greyish film. However, the compounds of silver nitrate have an antiseptic effect. Some solutions that contain silver nitrate is used for treating aggravations in the mucous membranes in the throat and mouth area. [11]


Silver has an extensive and prominent history in it's relation with medicine. Recorded dates go all the way back to 5th century B.C. when Hippocrates applied silver to cure wounds and the King of Persia made containers out of silver to hold water to prevent contamination. Silver became a sought-after material that many people wanted because of it's ability to prevent infection. In Western America, silver coins were put into containers of milk and water to impede the liquids from being spoiled. Over several decade, many scientists began to see what silver could do. They then began to observe, study, and record their findings of silver's resistance to bacteria and its properties. Over the last few years, many water industries have introduced silver into various water purification structures. Before using silver, stainless steel was used to make most surgical instruments. However, around fifty to sixty years ago, researchers switched back to silver to prevent bacterial infection. [12]


Silver has a history that goes all the way back until the beginning of time, starting in Genesis. Silver is mentioned in the Bible various times, referring to coins and such made out of silver. There were three metals that were first discovered before any of the others, gold, copper, and silver. [13] Many different silver ornaments and decorations have been found in tombs of royal families dating back to 4000 B.C. It is most likely that both silver and gold were used as money in the countries between the Indus and the Nile River, around the time of 800 B.C. [14] Many of the ancestors began to use silver and mold it into tableware once they realized it helped keep them from germs and bacteria. Various slag dumps in the Asia Minor and on the Islands in the Aegean Sea testify and give evidence that perhaps man discovered how to separate silver from other elements like lead as early as 3000 B.C. [15] During the first eight to ten centuries, silver was a highly favored treatment used to fix ailments such as cardiovascular disease all the way to silly things like bad breath. Then at the start of the seventeenth century, Angelus Sala discovered that Silver nitrate (AgNO3) could be used to treat sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and chorea. [16]

Could colloidal silver boost immunity or overall health?

An article that was published in February of 2009 by Chris Woolston, talks about how there are significant possibilities that colloidal silver can boost immunity or general health. While many people are trying to stay away from metals such as mercury and lead, there are several who are trying to get their hands on silver. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have labeled silver as potentially poisonous. However, after much research, scientists have dubbed silver with many traits such as: being able to kill off germs, enhance the immune system, and improve overall health. New research on colloidal silver, which is water infused particles of silver, shows that this is extremely useful, and lately has sky-rocketed sales in drug stores. Bottles of silver that can last up to eight to twelve days, sell for around twenty-one dollars a bottle.

However, in 1999, the FDA ordained that these colloidal silver products and merchandise could not claim to treat any special illness, due to the lack of any form of evidence. There is no doubt about it that bacteria or viruses are able to withstand silver and it's defenses. Sometimes, silver is even added to band-aids to prevent infection and added to water to help clean it and prevent viruses that are transmitted through water. Dr. Edmund Pribtitkin who is a professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, says that there is no evidence that proves colloidal silver can actually fight diseases and illnesses and refine health. The National Institutes of Health sent out a warning that consuming immense amounts of colloidal silver can bring about seizures, stomach problems, damage to the kidneys, headaches, and much fatigue. Also, if taking too much of it, argyria which is a harmless side effect, can cause permanent damage to the skin by leaving a permanent bluish tint by gathering right under the layer of epidermis. So, although silver can help with many things, there is no proven evidence that can confirm that colloidal silver can really prevent diseases and improve overall health. [17]