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Silver (Ag)

Say Cheese! Silver is in photographic film and prints.

Silver is so easily worked that for thousands of years it has been used for coinage, jewellery and decorative ware. Large amounts of silver were used in the photographic industry, though today electronic imaging is replacing silver based film. Silver is increasingly used as an anti-bacterial agent and as an electrical conductor in high quality electronic systems.

Silver is a soft, white, ductile and malleable lustrous transition metal. It has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. The metal naturally occurs in its pure, free form (native silver) and as an alloy with gold called electrum, as well as in various minerals, such as argentite and chlorargyrite.

Most silver is produced as a by-product of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining. In Cornwall silver is usually found associated with the lead ore galena, which may contain up to 0.5 % silver. The greatest quantity of silver came from the West Chiverton mine; during the 1860’s and 70’s over 29 tonnes of silver was produced. East Wheal Rose also produced substantial amounts of silver and occasionally other mines reported silver associated with various metals. In the St Just district, at the Botallack mine in 1880, silver from the mine was made into a large table centerpiece and presented to Richard Boynes, the mines purser. At nearby Levant mine (later to become part of Geevor) over 5000 ounces of silver, associated with copper ore, was sold in 1912. Wheal Jane mine was producing small amounts of silver right up to its closure in 1991 and at Geevor the flotation residues contained around 160 grams of silver per tonne of processed tin.

Data Panel: Silver
Ag
colour
Silver-white but tarnishing quickly to black
hardness
2.5-3
Crystal system
Isometric
Crystal habit
Wiry, branching masses or grains
Lustre
Metallic
Streak
Silver-white
Fracture
Hackly
Other characteristics
Ductile, mallable

 


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