The chemical element argentum, or more commonly known as Silver, is a versatile transition metal, with the ultimate conductivity of all elements known to mankind and the best heat conductivity in comparison to other metals. In recent years the price of Silver fluctuates very much, from the low numbers in 2001, where it was traded for four dollars per ounce, to the more current price of over twenty dollars per ounce, the price has been oscillating unpredictably.
Silver is being used for a multitude of purposes. The most commonly known purpose is in jewellery, but precious metal silver was also very popular as an investment and as coin material. Other uses are mostly ignored by the public, but nevertheless vital and common in the daily life. For instance, since the late nineteenth century, when a German chemist discovered the process of depositing silver layer onto the common glass by means of a chemical reduction, common mirrors were invented. Before that time, mirrors were exorbitantly expensive and privy only to the wealthy and royalty.
It is also a lesser known fact, that silver has a food additive number and is commonly used in India and Pakistan for external decoration of chocolate confection. Down under, in Australia, E174 is banned.
Before Alexander Fleming invented Penicillin and antibiotics became commonly used to fight infections, Silver compounds were the main antibacterial and antibiotic treatments.
Industry based around polyesters depends on the catalytic attributes of Silver, the only existing and known catalyst which can assist in creation of ethylene glycol, which besides the use in creation of polyester is widely used as antifreeze in cars.
Nuclear reactors also have Silver in the production line, as control rods; besides the already mentioned use in mirrors, special optics are coated with Silver as well, by means of sputtering.
It is commonly believed that the British currency, Pound Sterling, is derived from the wide use of Silver coins as currency dating back to the time before the tenth century, during the Anglo Saxon time of the British history. Sterling Silver is deemed standard Silver, although it is actually an alloy, featuring 7.5% of copper. Sterling silver is used to manufacture some musical instruments of a high quality, like, for instance, flutes.
Silver is also being used in dentistry, where it is being alloyed with tin and mercury into amalgams and used to shape the filling to fit the cavity. It hardens in minutes and is applicable for mastication within short few hours.
Silver is used in high end audio hardware, like in recording studios for high quality wiring and as conducting cable from the amplifier to the loudspeakers. Some very high quality connectors are made out of Silver, printed circuit boards are made by silver paints.