If you’re a fan of precious metals or an avid collector of rare coins, you’re familiar with the value of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. But have you ever thought about the various uses of these metals? Most people know a thing or two about gold and platinum, but what about silver?
The silver in your rare coins tells a unique story. However, many people underestimate silver’s usefulness and versatility because they consider it secondary or inferior to gold. After all, silver does symbolize second place in sporting events.
But because of its strategic position as a less rare-and therefore less expensive-metal than gold, different industries have been drawn to silver for a variety of reasons. The following list showcases 6 ways that silver contributes to today’s market as well as to your daily life.
Silver conducts more electricity and heat than any other metal on the periodic table, which makes it a prime source for use in electrical systems. You can find silver in:
- Electrical motor switches
- Light switches
- Speaker/Headphone wires
Whenever you type on your computer, turn on your car, look at your watch, or listen to music, you rely on the silver in your device to make sure everything functions correctly. Since we live in such an electronics-dependent society, there’s no escaping silver’s daily technological benefits.
You might not think silver shares much in common with the medicine industry, but think again. The next time you admire your collection of silver dollars, remember that the same silver can play a role in protecting your teeth or skin from infection. It might even help save your life.
Silver’s influence on sanitation exists in both the hospital and at home. Silver is used in:
- Burn treatments
- Dental fluoride & fillings
- Surgical needles & sutures
- Hearing aids
Silver’s antibacterial properties make it perfect for preventing infection and fostering a healthy body.
Believe it or not, silver plays a vital role in helping you see. As the most reflective metal in the world, silver works harmoniously with glass to keep your vision clear and undamaged by harmful light energy. Some products that use silver’s reflective quality include:
- Home & office windows
- Aircraft & spacecraft tiles
90-99% of harmful UV rays bounce off of glass coated with silver. This high caliber of reflectivity helps you drive safely, protects your eyes, and protects you from the scorching sunlight that shines in through windows.
4. Silverware & Jewelry
You’re probably most familiar with silver’s role in silverware and jewelry. Because of its brilliant reflectivity, shiny luster, and durable frame (when alloyed with copper), silver works well as a valuable status symbol. In fact, items like silver cutlery and rings have been made since at least the 14th Century.
Common silver items include:
Sterling silver is the most common type of silver used for silverware and jewelry. This specific metal usually contains 93% silver and 7% copper.
Did you know that silver plays a key role in the solar power industry? Solar cells coated with silver absorb light and convert it into electricity. In some cases, these cells can reflect solar light into receptacles that create energy.
If you’ve recently installed solar panels on your house, you have silver to thank for your home’s new power source. With silver’s help, you can now harness solar light and create environmentally friendly energy-not to mention decreased energy costs over time.
Other energy-producing mediums and objects that use silver include:
- Nuclear control rods
- Double-paned windows
- Infrared telescopes
6. Household Items & Appliances
Many typical household items contain silver, which helps them both look and function better. Silver’s many positive attributes-its conductivity, reflectiveness, malleability, and anti-bacterial nature-make it a reliable metal for a variety of appliances. These include:
- Dishwashers & detergent
- Musical instruments
- Air conditioners
- Food containers
The next time you go home to cook, clean, play your flute, or snap shots with your vintage camera, keep in mind that silver plays an important role.
Appreciate Your Silver
Needless to say, silver deserves more attention and appreciation for the many roles it plays in our current society. While other metals like palladium share some of silver’s uses, silver remains one of the most versatile metals on earth.
Now that you know more about how critical silver is to your daily life, hopefully you treasure your rare silver coins, silver jewelry, and silver appliances even more. You might even look a little closer at the spare pieces of silver you find with your metal detector.
And if you ever plan to sell your silver goods, you’re in luck-thanks to its many uses, silver is always in high demand. You’re sure to fetch a good price, and you never know what exciting use the buyer might put it to.