Humankind’s knowledge of silver was almost certainly prehistoric, taking its place alongside the awareness and use of gold and copper. Early on it may have been more rare than gold, because – even today – it is most often found and necessarily processed in connection with copper, lead or zinc, and sometimes gold, to the tune of around 70% of annual silver production.
The Egyptians saw gold as a “perfect metal” and made its symbol the circle. Silver, in their eyes it’s closest relative, was symbolized by a semi-circle. Being ductile (pliable and supple, yet tensile) and lustrous, it was and is often used to fashion jewelry, ornaments and utensils, such as bowls, goblets and silverware.
Once humankind learned how to separate silver from its other connective elements, the pathway was open for it to be used as…money. You may choose to read about the Babylonians, most instructively and accessibly in an early twentieth century book of parables dispensing financial advice titled The Richest Man in Babylon. In this vehicle, the idea of accumulating wealth and doing both good and well, via the judicious use of the three metals Babylonians considered money – gold, copper and silver – is transported to present-day audienceshaving the wisdom to apply its time-proven methods.
Silver was first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 13:2, where it is stated “And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold.”
The terms “Silver” and “money” are used interchangeably in at least a dozen languages. Various sources list silver being directly referred to in as many as 60 to 100 languages. Argentina, from Latin: “argentum” meaning “silver”, is the only country named after a metal. “Rup” is the Sanskrit word for silver. Thus is named India’s currency, the rupee.
The Ancients knew of seven heavenly bodies, each associated with a metal. Most germane to this discussion, the Sun was represented by gold; Venus by copper; and the moon by silver.
An excellent overview demonstrating the diversity and durability of the term is provided at vanderkrogt.net. This study notes there are at least seven different roots for the scores of words and phrases to which it refers. They list:
- Argentum/Argyros (most Italic languages, Celtic and Greek.
- Silubr/Sirebro (Germanic, Slavic and Baltic)
- Plata (Spanish and Portuguese)
- Sim (Aromanian)
- Hopea (Uralic, Finish and Estonian)
- Gümüs (Altaic languages)
- Noqrra (Pashtu, Tajik)
The following represent just a few of the literally scores of languages which have one or more terms meaning “silver”:
Afrikaans – silwer
Algerian – faddi
French – argent
Esperanto – arĝento
Filipino – pilak
German – Silber
Hawaiian – kālā
Portuguese – prata
Punjabi – cāndī
Spanish – plata
Turkmen – kümüs
Vietnamese – bac
Zulu – isiliva (source: thankyousilver.com)
Many names/phrases/sentences containing the term silver have come down to us, such as
Born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth
He was a silver-tongued orator.
(the) Silver screen
Silver Slugger Award
American Silver Eagle
Silver ratio (to gold)
Silver in Industrial Use Keeps Growing
- Silver use in solar panels got underway in 2000, and in that application alone its use has since grown by over 800%.
- The Silver Institute forecasts almost a 40% increase in the overall use of silver over the next five years.
- Silver from scrap recovery has been trending down, in part because the metal from many applications are not economically recoverable.
- Over half of the silver used in cell phones, RFID chips, TVs and other electronics end up in landfills.
- Silver’s use in biocide and nanotechnology applications are, for the most part unrecoverable.
- Hi-tech weapons systems use increasingly large amounts of silver as a critical construction component. Each Tomahawk missile reportedly uses 500 ounces of silver. Over the past few years, hundreds of these missiles were launched in various locales in the Middle East and North Africa alone.
- For decades investors have accumulated physical silver – be it trade rounds and bars, “junk silver” (pre-1965 circulating U.S. dimes, quarters and half dollars), or sovereign mint examples like those from Canada, the U.S. Austria, and private mints.
Silver is now in the process of being showcased once more in a “back to the future” movement, having antecedents of over 4,000 years, wherein this metal may once again take its rightful place as “honest money” – this time in the digital realm on the blockchain. The LODE Cryptographic Silver Project is set to be coming soon to a digital wallet or cryptoasset exchange near you. Developments can be followed on http://lode.live/