The History of Silver

July 11, 2014

Today, silver is a precious metal that adorns the bodies of people across the globe. It is renowned for its durability, luxurious nature and gorgeous sheen. Yet where did it come from and how did it get so wildly popular in contemporary society? Let’s take a look…
According to historians, the mining of silver began over 5000 years ago in ancient Anatolia (also known as modern day Turkey). At that time, silver was considered a valuable resource by the ancient civilisations and was used as a coin based currency across Arabia,the Ottoman Empire and medieval Europe.
In around 1200 B.C, the Laurium mines of Greece became a silver harvesting hub, with the precious metal used as a means of helping the empires to flourish and prosper.
In 100A.D Spain emerged as the world’s silver mining capital, providing the Roman Empire with a valuable resource for trading along the exotic Asian spice routes. After the Moorish invasion, the Spanish aptitude for silver mining was introduced to Central Europe which saw the popularity of the precious metal skyrocket thanks to significant improvements in mining and production technology. Not only was it used as a currency but it was also crafted into precious jewellery, homewares and other luxurious items.
Yet it was 1492 and the discovery of the ‘New World’ that really put silver in the global spotlight. Between the years of 1500 and 1800, over 85% of the world’s silver was sourced from the Spanish governed countries of Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. The US soon jumped on the silver mining bandwagon and the global production of silver hit an all-time high. By 1920, technological advancements as well as discoveries in new regions such as Australia, Africa and Japan had resulted in an annual turnover of 190 million troy ounces. And no wonder – silver was fast becoming the precious metal of choice for prosperous men and women wanting to flaunt their wealth.
Over the last century, a series of advanced technological breakthroughs and state-of-the-art equipment has massively increased global silver production and made the metal wonderfully affordable. Developments such as mine dewatering, steam, assisted drilling and increased haulage capacity have all contributed to an annual silver production of 671 million troy ounces.
With such a rich heritage and long lineage, it’s no surprise that silver has become one of the most desirable precious metals in the world and a natural choice for jewellery makers and collectors.


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