Silver coins have silver ions


keyboard_arrow_leftBack | Lexiconkeyboard_arrow_rightLexicon - silver Lexicon - worth knowing from A-Z

Along with gold, copper and tin, silver (lat. Argentum) is one of the first metals discovered and is one of the most important metals on our planet. It is in the 67th place in the abundance of elements and is therefore relatively rare, but it is about twenty times more common than gold. In the periodic table, silver is listed with the chemical symbol Ag (Argentum), has the ordinal number 47 and belongs to the first subgroup.

The precious metal used to be used as a means of payment, nowadays silver is used in many other industries in addition to the jewelry industry. The antibacterial properties of silver are used in textiles and in medicine.

Further information and related topics in the lexicon:




Since around the 5th century BC Silver is actively used. Even then, people were aware of the excellent properties of silver, so that it was even more expensive than gold at times. Like other metals and precious stones, it was an important means of payment and exchange.

In the Middle Ages, the first silver ore deposits in Germany were discovered in Hartz, Saxony, the southern Black Forest and Bohemia. Due to the fact that the Spanish imported large amounts of silver from Latin America to Europe, the silver value fell drastically due to the supply, which is why silver mining in Germany almost came to a standstill in the 19th century.

Over time, the precious metal became popular outside of use as a means of payment and was particularly popular in the jewelry industry and for the production of table silver, sacred vessels and stamps.

To date, the development of the silver value is subject to great fluctuations in accordance with demand and supply. The precious metal experienced the greatest decline in value in the 1970s due to a speculative bubble.


Silver is a shiny white precious metal with remarkable properties because it can conduct electricity as well as heat and is nonetheless - like gold - non-magnetic. The precious metal is very soft and elastic, so that it can be easily processed and shaped. It can be polished well and reflects the light strongly. The reflection of the light gives silver its shiny color.

Why does silver tarnish?

Pure silver (and also gold) does not tarnish per se. The reason why cutlery and jewelry get black deposits over time is due to the use of silver in combination with other raw materials. Since silver is quite soft, it is not processed in its pure state, but as an alloy with copper, for example, so that it becomes harder. Basically, the end product does not lose any of its shiny properties, but sulfur compounds occurring in the vicinity attack the alloy. The silver jewelry reacts chemically with the sulfur components and is deposited on the silver as a yellowish, brown or black patina.

In order to remove the dark patina and make the silver product shine again, there are various means to choose from in stores: From cleaning cloths to ultrasonic devices to polishing pastes - the selection is huge. A little tip for bargain hunters: just make a hot, concentrated saline solution and put crumpled aluminum foil in it. If you put your jewelry and the table silver in it, the dark patina is usually transformed back into a shiny surface. Alternatively, you can polish the jewelry with commercially available toothpaste.

And one more tip: Use your silver jewelry and tableware rarely, wrap it in special silver velvet (sulfur and acid-free) and try to keep the items airtight. It also helps to put a piece of chalk in the storage box.


In the past, people had mainly used the precious metal to make silver coins as a means of payment. Nowadays silver is used in many different areas:

  • Jewellery:
    Silver has been processed into jewelry for many years, because the light reflection makes it particularly effective.

  • Textiles:
    An antiallergenic property is ascribed to silver ions, which the textile industry also makes use of. Bedding for allergy sufferers, for example, has covers whose fibers are vaporized with silver ions. Even after washing, the silver particles stick to the fabric and thus maintain the anti-allergenic effect.

  • Medicine:
    In the smallest (ionized) form, silver is an important component in disinfectants.

  • Furniture industry:
    In the furniture industry, silver is often used as a modern, fresh color name. The designation is particularly common for furniture with decorative surfaces, decorative fittings or upholstered furniture.

  • Sports:
    In sports competitions, silver medals are awarded as a sign of second place. It is also good to know that the gold medal for the winner also consists of 92.5% silver.

  • Electrical engineering and dental technology:
    Silver in the form of alloys (copper, zinc, tin, etc.) is used in electrical engineering for soldering technology, as contact materials and conductive materials. In dental technology, silver is used to manufacture tooth fillings.

  • Music:
    Since the precious metal gives off a particularly warm tone, musical instruments (e.g. flutes) are made from it.