Silver is a metallic chemical component with atomic number 47 and chemical symbol Ag. A white, soft, shiny transition metal has the maximum electrical conductivity of any element and the maximum thermal conductivity of any metal. The metal transpires naturally in its unadulterated free form as an alloy with gold as well as other metals, and in minerals like chlorargyrite and argentite. Most of the silver is made as a by-product of gold, copper, zinc and lead refining.
Silver has long been appreciated as a valuable metal, and it is exploited to make jewelry, ornaments, high-value utensils, tableware, and currency coins. Nowadays, silver metal is also exploited in electrical conductors and contacts and in catalysis of chemical reactions. Its composites are exploited in dilute silver nitrate solutions, in photographic film and other silver compounds are utilized as microbiocides and disinfectants. Whereas many remedial antimicrobial uses of silver have been superseded by antibiotics, more research into scientific potential continues.
Jewelry is conventionally made from sterling silver, an alloy of 92.5 percent silver with 7.5 percent copper. In the United States, only an alloy comprising of as minimum 90.0 percent fine silver may be marketed as silver. Pure silver is less tough than sterling silver, and has a lesser melting point than either pure copper or pure silver. Britannia silver is an unusual trademark quality standard restraining 95.8 percent silver, frequently employed to make wrought plate and silver tableware. With the addition of germanium, the patented customized alloy Argentium Sterling Silver is created, with enhanced properties counting resistance to firescale.
Jewelry of sterling silver is frequently plated with a slim coat of .999 fine silver to furnish the item a glossy finish. This procedure is called “flashing”. Silver jewelry might also be coated with rhodium or gold.