Silver has played a significant role in the history of humankind. From currency to facilitate commerce, to jewelry and art pieces to display wealth and power, to liturgical artifacts to represent the connection with divinities, Silver was used in everyday activities and had great value and appeal for many ancient cultures. Numerous records of Silver mining by ancient cultures exist in Peru, Mexico, Greece, Spain, Italy, China, Korea, and Japan, among others.
Because of its high electrical conductivity and durability, almost every modern electrical device contains Silver, and its industrial uses include switches, catalysts, conductors in brazing and soldering, and solar panels.
Silver also has antimicrobial properties and has been used for centuries to prevent the growth of germs and to treat bacterial infections. Today, Silver has many medical uses, including in sanitization products of hospitals and equipment or as embedded in surgical tools and fabrics. Silver has an important role to play in the move to environmentally friendlier technologies. It is an important component of solar panels, electric vehicles, water purification systems and other clean technologies.
Mining methods have evolved and our ability to mine larger quantities of silver has increased, but the role of silver in today’s societies is still an important one. Silver has many properties that make it an indispensable metal and this is all the more evident when considering that over half of the world’s new mine production in 2019 was destined to industrial uses.