Since ages humans are using silver and silver coins as way of exchange and trade and pay for things they want to buy and sell.
Today, we will speak about the history of silver through the ages.
It’s use as money of jewelry, you will surely like to know more about this precious metal.
Silver has been used for jewelry and eating and drinking containers since the beginning of time.
Since at least 3,000 BC, people have been mining silver.
Coins were also made of silver.
In Greece, silver coinage have been used since around 400 BC.
A denarius was a silver coin used by the Romans.
The Anglo-Saxons in what is now England began producing silver pennies in the eighth century AD.
240 pennies were created by melting a pound of silver.
Until 1971, a pound contained 240 pence.
A penny, on the other hand, was a considerable sum of money in the eighth century (4 or 5 pence would buy a sheep).The Vikings invaded Paris in 845.
The French monarch offered them 7,000 pounds of silver in exchange for their departure.
Silver was discovered near the city of Joachimsthal in what is now the Czech Republic in the early 16th century.
Joachimsthalers were silver coins that were produced.
They were then dubbed thalers, from which the word dollar was derived.
A serious effort to mine silver began approximately 3000 BC.
2500 BC: In the first reported complex processing procedure, the ancient Chaldeans (modern-day Turkey) used a ‘cupellation’ process to extract silver from lead-silver ores.
1600-1200 BC: Following the collapse of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, silver production relocated to the Laurium mines (near Athens) to support the budding Greek civilization.
The first silver coins were made in the eastern Mediterranean around the year 550 BC.
Silver was established as part of the Roman Empire’s standard coinage in 269 BC, and it was widely utilized across the trading world.
206 BC-220 AD: Silver coins were included in China’s official currencies during the Han Dynasty, but they were only used by the royal family.
The Moorish conquest of Spain in the eighth century momentarily interrupted silver mining.
In the first 1,000 years of the Christian era, Spain dominated silver mine production.
708: During Emperor Genmyo’s reign, the first silver currency was struck in Japan. However, because to low production levels, it was quickly replaced by copper.
750-1200: In Central Europe, several large silver mine discoveries were made, particularly in Germany’s Schemnitz, Rammelsburg, Goslar, and Saxony districts.
775: The Saxon kingdoms issued silver “sterlings,” 240 of which were produced from one pound of silver, which was probably around the same weight as the later troy pound.
Silver ingots were frequently utilized as a type of payment during China’s Yuan Dynasty, which lasted from 1279 to 1368. Silver ingots became the major money in circulation during the Ming Dynasty, which lasted until 1911, when the Qing Dynasty, China’s last dynasty, ended.
1492: Columbus’ discovery of the New World was a significant milestone that led to the founding of major mines in Mexico, Bolivia and Peru that were to account for over 85 percent of global silver production and trade from 1500 to 1800.
1545: Potosi, Bolivia, and the Cerro Rico silver ore mine, dubbed the world’s largest silver deposit, are discovered. In 1615, production reached its pinnacle.
Between the late 16th and late 19th centuries, Spanish silver coins known as “pieces of eight” were in circulation.
1500-1800: Mexico and Peru produced around 85% of the world’s silver, with a total output estimated to be between 70,000 and 150,000 tonnes. According to some estimates, about 40% of the silver ended up in China.
1792: Alexander Hamilton, then-Secretary of the Treasury, proposes a gold-and-silver-based monetary system.
The first official US silver dollar was struck on October 15, 1794, in conformity with the Coinage Act of 1792.
1858: The discovery of silver ore in Nevada sparked a wave of enthusiasm across the United States comparable to the California Gold Rush ten years prior.
1862: The United States Congress passes a bill making paper “greenbacks” legal tender for all public and private debts, with the exception of tariffs. This legal bind did not, however, render specific stipulations in contracts requiring gold/silver payment unenforceable.
1873: The Coinage Law of 1873 demonetizes silver, removing it from its infinite legal tender status and allowing it to be freely coined.
1875: In 1878, the Resumption Act of 1875 established the United States as the de facto monometallic gold standard. This signaled an increase in gold demand and a decrease in silver demand as a global monetary reserve, resulting in a drop in market prices.
1890: The Shelman Silver Purchase Act authorizes the issuance of 4.5 million ounces of silver per month.
On October 30, 1893, the Shelman Silver Purchase Act was repealed in order to re-establish the gold standard, following a drop in Treasury gold reserves from $320 million in 1888 to $189 million in 1893.
1900: The Gold Standard Act of 1900 abolished bimetallism and tied the United States’ currency to gold.
On March 6, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a four-day bank holiday to prevent major panics and bank runs by prohibiting gold and silver hoarding and export.
On Day 3, the “Emergency Banking Act” was approved, shutting down institutions that had to be declared “financially secure” before being reopened.
1934: Under the Silver Purchase Act of 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued executive order No. 6814, confiscating and nationalizing silver and prohibiting private ownership of quantities exceeding 500 troy ounces.
The Silver Purchase Act of 1946 made the United States government the world’s largest buyer of silver. The government was also obligated to sell at a set price under the Act.
1965: Silver was removed from quarters and dimes, and the silver content of half dollars was lowered to 40%.
The Hunt Brothers, sons of late Texan oil tycoon Haroldson Lafayette Hunt Jr, started controlling the silver market in 1973.
Jan 18, 1980: Silver hit an all-time high just below $50 an ounce, when gold prices also rose dramatically in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Silver prices dipped to about $15 an ounce by the end of that year.
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1988: The Hunt Brothers were charged with conspiring to corner the silver market, and a Peruvian mineral business was fined $134 million in compensation. The brothers declared themselves bankrupt.
Warren Buffet purchased 130 million ounces of silver in 1997 and 1998.
2010: Spot silver prices soared to 30-year highs, with gains of more than 80%, outpacing gold.
25 April 2011: Spot silver hit a new high of $48.84 per ounce, while silver futures in the United States hit $49.82, the highest since 1980.
History of Silver in Jewelry
Silver is a white metallic element that is harder than gold but softer than copper, with malleability and ductility second only to gold.
Silver, with the symbol Ag on the Periodic Table of the Elements, is a good heat and electrical conductor.
Because of its high resistance to oxidation, silver is considered a noble metal.
Silver has long been used to make jewelry and objets d’art, and it is frequently alloyed with another metal to harden it enough to keep the required shape and details.
When compared to other precious metals such as gold or platinum, silver is currently very affordable. This may lead one to believe that it isn’t a valuable metal. That is a misconception!
Throughout history, silver has been valued higher than gold at times. When you look at the amount of silver used in jewelry, you’ll notice that it much outnumbers all other precious metals. This adaptable white metal also sparked significantly more technological advancements in mining and metallurgy than its precious metal siblings. Access to silver deposits has swung wars and, as a result, history, and entire economies have depended on it. Without a question, silver is one of the most essential metals in use today.
Our silver narrative begins towards the end of the 4th millennium BC, when ingenious residents of modern-day Turkey discovered that cupellation could extract silver from lead (see also: Silver Mining & Metallurgy).
Only a few pieces of Bronze Age silver have survived, but those that have give us a good idea of what these silversmiths were capable of.
Silver was employed as a money in Mesopotamia at the dawn of history (history meaning the part of the past about which we have written chronicles).
Not in the way that coins are, but rather by weight or in the form of rings.
The silversmith’s store in Mesopotamia would have resembled or been the same as the goldsmith’s business, as is often the case nowadays.
Silver is slightly less ductile than gold and requires more frequent annealing throughout the manufacturing process, but it can still be cast, hammered into exceedingly thin sheets, engraved, embossed, utilized in repoussé work, and filigree and granulation ornamented.
Vessels, statuettes, and jewelry have been discovered that indicate high-purity silver was employed, resulting in rather soft artifacts.
Silver in Ancient Civilizations
The Egyptians were fascinated by the unusual and unexpected.
They adored it when it arrived from afar.
Afghan Lapis lazuli, undoubtedly the most prized gemstone to them, was obtained with much difficulty.
Silver arrived in Egypt over this trade route, and, like lapis, it was highly esteemed and regarded as incredibly special.
The mountains of the Eastern desert and Nubia could provide gold close to home.
Perhaps some electrum came from here as well, but pure silver had to be imported, making it worth more than gold and only suitable for the most powerful.
Silver’s value had fallen to nearly half that of gold by 1600BC, indicating that the metal’s supply had increased significantly.
It was already being utilized as an abstract currency with a fixed value at this point.
Silver’s popularity appears to have been subjected to the whims of fashion. King Tut’s tomb, for example, contains few silver artifacts, whereas Sheshonq II’s sarcophagus was entirely made of silver.
MINOA, MYCENAE & PHOENICIA
Because the Minoans and, to a lesser extent, the later Mycenaeans were traders, they would have dealt with silver frequently.
As a result, early Greek silver jewelry has been discovered in archaeological sites on the Greek mainland, Crete, and Cyprus.
Through colonization and trade with all corners of the Mediterranean, the Phoenicians had a significant part in the development of Mediterranean civilizations.
The Phoenicians were the ones who first exploited the Spanish silver resources and spread the wealth throughout the classical world.
Silver’s exclusivity and exotic status were eroded as a result of its incentives, and its availability soared to never-before-seen levels.
The supply of silver was critical to both Greek and Roman society since their currency, properly produced silver coins, relied on it.
It appears that it wasn’t used in jewelry as extensively as gold was (we see a lot more gold things from that time period), although this could be due to remelting and recycling to some extent.
The relics demonstrate that it was used for a wide range of jewelry, including finger rings, anklets, and armlets.
The Romans loved niello, a surface decoration technique that is comparable to enameling but uses silver sulphate instead of glass. Niello is far more durable than enamel and has a metallic rather than vitreous shine. Niello spread over the continent during the Roman conquest of Northern Europe, as evidenced by Anglo-Saxon artifacts in Britain and Eastern Europe.
Silver and bronze were often used for jewelry among the Celtic tribes. The most common types of jewelry were decorated brooches, torcs, and lunulae.
The Celts didn’t utilize coinage before the Roman conquest; instead, they used ‘ring-money.’
These rings were made of silver, copper, bronze, or gold and were only meant to be used as a form of payment.
Gold became scarce in Europe as the Roman supply lines collapsed.
As a result, silver became the most popular metal for jewelry.
Germanic jewelry mostly consisted of functional objects such as fibulae, disc brooches, penannular brooches, and buckles, which were often made of silver and occasionally gilded or inlaid with precious stones, with garnets being the most popular.
Viking invasion along the northwest European coast beginning around 800AD resulted in massive amounts of silver being transported to Scandinavia, where silversmiths prospered and silver jewelry became a tradition.
The discovery of Swedish silver deposits around the turn of the millennium undoubtedly fueled the tradition of wearing silver jewelry.
We think now you can understand more about the silver’s history. We hope you did enjoy it.
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