SILVER - A BACKGROUND
Silver is a metallic chemical element with an atomic number of 47 and the symbol Ag. Silver is a soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal.
Silver is one of the most valuable elements next to gold. Mexico is the leading producer of silver, followed by the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, Peru, and Russia. Silver can be found in nature in silver ore, silver ore is a mixture of other metals including silver.
Jewellery and silverware are traditionally made from sterling silver (standard silver), an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper. In the US, only
an alloy consisting of at least 92.5% fine silver can be marketed as "silver". Sterling silver is harder than pure silver, and has a lower melting point (893 °C) than either pure silver or pure copper. Britannia silver is an alternative hallmark-quality standard containing 95.8% silver, often used to make silver tableware and wrought plate. With the addition of germanium, the patented modified alloy Argentium Sterling Silver is formed, with improved properties including resistance to firescale.
Sterling silver jewelry is often plated with a thin coat of .999 fine silver to give the item a shiny finish. This process is called "flashing". Silver jewelry can also be plated with rhodium (for a bright, shiny look) or gold.