Silver, which has the Chemical Symbol
Ag, is a rare Metal that is used as Money, has Medical uses, and is used to make Jewelry, amoung other uses.
Silver has an Atomic Number of 47, and is a soft, white, lustrous Transition Metal.
Silver has long been considered a Precious Metal and has been used as Money and to make Jewelry.
It was common to make Knives, Forks, and Spoons out of silver. (Or more precisely, to be covered in silver.)
Thus the name Silverware.
Because of silver's Medicinal properties, it may actually be beneficial to have your knives, forks, and spoons made out of silver, and to eat and prepare your food with them. (Whether it is or not, I don't actually know.)
Silverware is prone to develop a Tarnish, which dulls the look of the silverware. And tends to need to have the tarnish removed, to bring back the shine of the silverware.
Silver, left exposed to Air, will usually develop a Tarnish.
Silver tarnish will appear as grey or black film over the silver.
The silver tarnish is actually a type of Corrosion of the silver, similar to Rust, but occurs at a slower rate than what you see in metals that rust. (Other metals, such as Copper and Aluminum, as well as alloys like Brass, can also develop a tarnish)
Silver tarnish can be cleaned, using various techniques. However, one should note that the silver tarnish is part of the original silver object. And every time you remove silver tarnish, you're removing a layer of silver.
Using of Silver as Medicine
Silver compounds and silver ions have a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae, and fungi. (This property is similar to that of of other Heavy Metals like Lead and Mercury. But unlike lead and mercury, which are both toxic to Humans, silver is not... or at least not as toxic.)
I've read that the Phoenicians used to store Water, Wine, and Vinegar in Silver bottles to prevent spoiling. I've also read that in the early 1900's people would put Silver Dollars in milk bottles to prolong the Milk's freshness.
There are some today that swear by the use of Colloidal Silver. (Colloidal silver is a liquid suspension of microscopic particles of silver. Although some call concentrations of ionic silver, silver colloids, ionic silver compounds or silver proteins in purified water, as colloidal silver).
A word of caution. Most silver Salts are toxic to humans. And some may even be Carcinogenic.
There have been cases where people who have ingested alot of silver (in the form of elemental silver, silver dust, or silver compounds), usually over a long period of time, have developed a condition called Argyria.
And while having argyria doesn't always do any harm to the person, it does change the color of areas of the skin or all of the skin to gray, blue-gray, or blue. Sometimes this can give you very metalic looking skin.
However, I have read about some claims that says that a person with this can also get brain damage, seizures, and death or a persistent vegetative state.
The coloration of the skin is similar to the reaction that takes place in the use of silver in photography.
Silver in Photography
Using of Silver as Money
Stories About Silver
There have long been tales of of silver curing various maladies and killing various mythical monsters.
For example, it was believed that a Werewolf could be killed with a Silver Bullet. (This is where the term "silver bullet", used for describing the "cure" or "fix", comes from.)
Chemistry of Silver
The Chemical Symbol for silver -- Ag -- comes from the Latin word for silver: Argentum.
Silver has 2 (known) stable Isotopes:
109Ag. (I.e., the (known) stable isotopes of silver have 107 or 109 Neutrons.)