A Silver Lining - The History of Silver in Jewelry
When you think of precious metals, silver should be at the top of the list as a precious metal that has stood the test of time, captivating us with its beauty and never going out of style.
While silver is used in electronics and film because it is a great conductor and easy to shape, the unique history of silver in jewelry is worth telling. The first significant silver mines were discovered in 4000 BC in ancient Turkey. Excitement over silver spread throughout the world. The Chinese developed a process for refining silver, and mines were discovered in Greece and Spain. Silver is one of the seven metals of antiquity because it was one of the first precious metals to be discovered.
The discovery of the Americas by early explorers really exploded global interest in silver as giant mines were found in Mexico and Peru. Silver has always played an integral part in Native American Jewelry because it is a natural part of the history of the land.
In the mid-19th-century, sterling silver became extremely popular in jewelry and it grew in popularity during the Art Nouveau movement. You may think of gold as a "classic" metal for jewelry, but silver has always been popular in fine diamond pieces like Queen Mary's famous Diamond Riviere, which featured 34 diamonds set in gold and silver and sold at auction for over 1.8 million dollars. Silver allows diamonds to really sparkle and shine so it has remained a popular choice for high-quality diamond jewelry.
Silver has always been in high demand, and there have been times throughout history when silver prices were actually higher than gold prices, making it more valuable. While gold and nugget can be found in usable nuggets, silver always has to be extracted from ore and refined. Silver is popular in jewelry on its own, but it is also frequently plated with gold for a durable, affordable alternative to solid gold jewelry.
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