Silver

The History on Silver

The word silver is from the Anglo Saxon name, “seolfor”, and from the Latin name Argentum, we obtain the periodic table symbol for silver, Ag.

This precious metal was only discovered 2000 years after gold in 4000bc. Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians used Silver before they knew what exactly it was; but what they were actually using was a metal alloy called Electrum, which is an alloy of Silver and Gold. They didn’t even have a name in their vocabulary for what they were using, and referred to it as “white metal”. Once the discovery has been made, it was deemed even more precious than Gold!

Silver has a special place in the history of the elements because it is one of the first five metals discovered and used by humans. The others were goldcopperlead and iron.  Silver has been in use since prehistoric times, and we do not know who discovered it.  Ancient people even figured out how to refine silver.  They heated the silver ore and blew air over it, a process called cupellation. The silver does not react to the air, but the base metals such as lead and copper oxidize and separate from the precious metal.

Silver forms in star explosions called supernovae, as does gold. A study published in September 2012 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics found that smaller stars that explode produce silver, while larger stars produce gold.

Silver really exploded on Earth, however, when Europeans landed on the New World in 1492. Spanish conquerors discovered that South America was home to rich veins of silver and silver ore, and they mined that wealth enthusiastically; according to the Silver Institute, an industry trade group, 85 percent of the silver produced worldwide came from Bolivia, Peru and Mexico between 1500 and 1800.

Very large pieces of it have been found, such as those found in the early 1900s in Northern Ontario, Canada described as “pieces of native silver as big as stove lids and cannon balls.”!  Can you imagine all the jewels we could make with that?

You can see a timeline on the history of Silver here.

 

Just the facts

  • Atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus): 47
  • Atomic symbol (on the Periodic Table of Elements): Ag
  • Atomic weight (average mass of the atom): 107.8682
  • Density: 10.501 grams per cubic centimeter
  • Phase at room temperature: Solid
  • Melting point: 961.78 degrees Celsius
  • Boiling point:  2,162 C
  • Number of isotopes (atoms of the same element with a different number of neutrons): 66; 2 stable
  • Most common isotopes: Ag-107 (51.839 percent natural abundance) and Ag-109 (48.161 percent natural abundance)

Some Mythology

Silver have always held a place in human history as a metal that have shaped and destroyed civilizations. Since ancient times, silver have always been given innate value due to their amazing qualities like its resistance to corrosion and tarnishing.  Many cultures have built up their own mythologies about silver due to its highly reflective, characteristic shine.  Despite the variance in culture, religion, or race, silver have always been attributed to certain deities, and was conferred specific deistic properties as embodied by the metals themselves. 

One of the first cultures to use silver in their own mythology was the Ancient Greeks. Hesiod was a poet and is believed to have lived during the 8th century BC. In his poem Works and Days, Hesiod set out the five ages of man. The Silver Age is the second period, between gold, the first age, and Bronze, the third age. The poem is partly based upon the characteristics of the metals – gold – very soft, silver – harder, bronze – harder still and the mythology is still continued to this day in the Olympics. The gold medals are said to represent the age when men were among gods, the silver medal represent the age where youth lasted 100 years, and the bronze medal signifies the era of heroes. 

The Silver age was associated also with Apollo, the god of truth & light and teacher of medicine, who carried a bow made out of silver, and Apollo’s twin sister, Artemis, who lost her hand, was given a silver replacement. 

In folklore, a bullet cast from silver is often the only weapon that is effective against a werewolfwitch, vampire or other monsters.  Silver bullets also act as a calling card for The Lone Ranger in his adventures!

In alchemy, silver is an archetype concept – one of seven.  Before the periodic table emerged , there were in fact sever sacred metals, of which silver held a place of high esteem. 

All ideas were cantered on discovering and utilizing the essence behind the material manifestation, and the goal of expressing absolute terms primary principles governing both time and matter.  Practitioners of the past were as much poets as scientists.

Further, the alchemy symbol of silver is associated with the moon. As such, silver holds philosophical traits of the feminine persuasion as well as attributes of intuition, inner wisdom, and contemplation. 

Silver is even also seen in the ancient chakra system – the system setting out seven sacred energy centres of the body. Silver is associated with the sixth chakra, also known as the “third-eye”. In this sense, silver certainly represents the concept of reflection, both physically (as reflective substances are silvery), and as an internal exercise of self-analysis. The recent upsurge in popularity of practices such as chakra shows us that the mythology of the properties of silver is still active, and that our interest in the precious metal will live on for centuries to come.

Although there is no way that we can substantiate any “scientific “knowledge that these ancients discovered, maybe they did know a lot more than we give them gratitude for?

The awesome healing power of silver

Silver has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and it has been used throughout the ages to cure infections and help heal wounds. Now interest in silver is growing in the medical community because new studies have found that it can kill a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including the very dangerous E. coli and Staphylococcus.

 

The form of silver generally used as medicine is colloidal silver, which is the suspension of microscopic particles of silver in liquid.

 

Before the advent of antibiotics, colloidal silver was used to treat infections, but after antibiotics came into vogue, silver went out of favor with conventional doctors except for a few uses.

Holistic physicians, however, never stopped prescribing colloidal silver to prevent many types of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, with generally excellent results. Because silver attacks microbes in several different ways at once, it’s more difficult for these microbes to develop protective mechanisms.

Ingesting silver products has, in rare cases, been linked to an irreversible condition called argyria, in which the skin turns bluish grey. While this is clearly a side effect that no one wants to encounter, case studies show that this condition occurs only when silver products are consumed for a year or more and/or as a result of ingesting very large amounts—at least one gram.

 

Do not attempt to make a colloidal silver product yourself, and do not ingest someone else’s homemade product. A variety of do-it-yourself kits are available. However, these kits create silver particles that are quite large, making them less effective at killing microbes and more difficult for the body’s cells to eliminate than smaller particles. Large silver particles are more likely to produce argyria with long-term use.

More of argyria here and here.