Price of Silver Today

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To understand the price of silver today, one must consider the role silver plays in the world today. Silver holds an interesting place in the global social consciousness as the least rare and arguably most versatile of all the precious metals. It is at once accessible while still being valuable. It is both beautiful and utilitarian.

Naturally, such a wide base of appeal makes silver very popular, as an investment as well as an industrial product. In fact, silver is a precious metal that one could say is suffering an identity crisis. It is a powerful investment tool, but it is also affordable enough to use in many manufacturing and artistic applications due to its unique properties.

There is no great shortage of silver in the world; however there are times when supply may not meet demand. One thing that has a great impact on the price of silver today is the fact that unlike other precious metals it can be completely consumed in manufacturing, with no way to recycle it back into the supply stream. It is a finite resource, but an eventual end to the mining supply only explains a part of its allure in today's various cultures.

Cultural Value

Despite its status as a precious metal and its close relationship with gold, silver was never revered or worshiped by any culture as fervently as its yellow-toned cousin. It was, and still is, frequently used in rites and rituals, and was favored for its use as currency, but was never itself the subject of widespread idolatry.

Silver is credited with funding the rise and fall of a few empires, countries have been exploited for its gain, and many governments have enacted questionable legislation in its interest, but there are few stories of its ability to incite full-scale war or genocide - such as the power of gold.

Origins

Silver was initially discovered near present-day Turkey and also near Greece, and from there was spread through the growth of empire; first the Roman Empire, and followed by the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Silver made its way through Asia Minor and Western Europe by way of money and religion from these massive lodes.

The East

Although gold plays prominently in many Eastern cultures, silver remained conspicuously absent in any major form until it began working its way in from outside sources. China didn't fashion its first silver coin until the 10th century, which by that time hundreds of millions of tons of it had been extracted from Middle Eastern and European mines.

New World

The discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1858 caused no small amount of silver fever, the legends of which live on in town names that dot the Southwest like Silver City, Silver Gulch and Silver Station. Silver was also loved as an indicator of even bigger deposits of valuable minerals like copper, lead and tin, and the price of silver today is impacted by the economics and economies of scale that that can be applied the other mineral resources that surround a potential source.

Discoveries in Mexico also led to a cultural artistic movement that is still celebrated by natives, the products of which are exported all over the world.

Artistic Value

The price of silver today is also effected by its demand for use in jewelry and other works of art. Silver, sterling silver and silver alloyed with other metals (including precious metals) are a favored choice for use in art, silverware, jewelry and religious artifacts everywhere in the world. The first such objects were found more than 5,000 years ago in present-day Egypt and the Middle East, and the tradition continues to this day.

Sterling silver in particular enjoys global appeal, and originated in Germany in the 12th century. Pure silver resists tarnish but is too soft for use in pieces that are often handled. So, artists and jewelers alloy silver to a harder metal. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and is sought out the world over for its luster and durability. Sterling silver jewelry and tableware can be found in tens of millions of homes and markets worldwide.

Religious artifacts (crosses, chalices, censors, filigree, moon symbols, etc.) that are cast in silver are a continuation of Middle Eastern and European religious traditions thousands of years old. Silver was - and by some, still is - considered to have healing and protective qualities, and is often associated with the moon and lunar lore. The myths are often revisited in today's popular films, with vampires and werewolves fearing silver crosses and bullets.

The price of silver today is impacted by these factors, as well as many others.