How Is Silver Made?
Silver was discovered in Greece in 4000 B.C. That’s when people started valuing the grey metal. It originates from heated sulfur compounds that rest beneath the earth’s crust.
Silver is among the five metals that human beings first explored. These metals include iron, copper, lead, and gold. Silver is used for making coins, jewelry, certain antibiotics, and electrical conductors. Here’s how silver is mined, refined, and developed into bars and coins.
Silver mines exist around the world. The largest mines are situated n Poland, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Australia. In the United States, silver mining started in 1850 and was regarded as the Nevada Rush. Also known as the Comstock Lode, this silver mine was found in the eastern region of Mount Davidson. This Silver rush was similar to the California Gold Rush that occurred a decade earlier.
Many people believe silver is mined in nugget form. Yet, it is rarely extracted that way. Silver is extracted with other metals like sulfur, arsenic, copper, and gold. These metals get removed during the refining process.
Previously, mercury amalgamation was used to extract silver from its ore. Copper sulfate, salt, and mercury were used in this treatment to isolate silver. This process began in the 1600s and lasted through the 1800s until it was banned due to health hazards.
Nowadays, silver is refined by various methods, including:
Silver Bars and Ingots
Refined silver is melted at extremely high temperatures and is shaped into bars and ingots of specified purity and weight. These bars and ingots come in different sizes ranging from an ounce to a kilo. Some refiners sell these bars directly to consumers, whereas industrial mining companies ship them to commercial clients.
Private and government mints further process the refined silver to form coins and jewelry. Some silver mints also make planchets and blanks. The U.S. Mint uses these blanks to produce striking silver coins.
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