Silver is one of the oldest and the most popular metals finding its applications across industries. The earliest record of silver use comes from modern-day Turkey, dating back to 3,000 BC, where it was used as currency for trade.
Over the centuries, the use of silver has changed dynamically, from being utilised in electronic devices to aiding in weather instruments. Silver is a precious metal with a wide range of applications in products like silverware, jewellery and medicine.
Furthermore, certain properties of silver, such as high conductivity, and resistance to corrosion pave the way for its utilisation in large industries. Silver is also popular for investment purposes due to its power to act as a hedge against inflation.
To that end, read on to understand what are the uses of silver in India as well as across the globe.
Here are a few applications of silver across various industries.
When discussing the uses of silver, jewellery may find a place in the top 5 uses of silver. Silver jewellery is popular across various customs and cultures. The year 2021 witnessed approximately 17.3% of the global silver demand, with around 181 million ounces of silver being used in the global jewellery industry.
In India and across the globe, silver jewellery is worn as rings, nose rings, earrings, etc. Be it a festival or any function, gifting silver ornaments has always been the norm in India. Furthermore, as silver is cheaper than gold and displays high resistance to corrosion and oxidation, many prefer using and gifting silver jewellery to their near and dear ones.
Due to its high conductivity, there is a vast demand and application of silver to generate this renewable energy source over other metals in the electrical industry. Silver paste is used to make solar photovoltaic cells or solar panels. This way, because of the thermal and electrical properties of silver, there is a boost in the production of solar energy.
Furthermore, silver finds its application in nuclear energy as well. The control rods, which are essential for capturing neutrons and slowing the fission rate in nuclear reactors, also use silver.
There are various applications of silver in different domains of the electric industry. Wires made with silver have a higher conductivity than any other material and are very useful for transferring electricity across large distances.
Apart from the jewellery industry, silver uses in the electrical industry can be included within the popular 5 uses of silver. It is also employed in soldering joints, i.e., connecting metals permanently with a leakage-proof joint.
This finds the usage of silver in electrical circuits for keyboards, TV, computers, toys, gaming consoles, telephones, etc. Apart from these uses, silver is also used in creating electronic parts of cars, such as batteries, automatic windows systems, and more.
Reports state that the demand for silver in the automobile industry may peak at the rate of 22% every year until 2025. Silver is also used to make batteries, which have a better capacity and can perform well at higher temperatures.
Silver salts like silver iodide, silver chloride, and silver bromide are important elements when making photographic papers and films. Until the digital age of photography, silver was used to create photo-sensitive films for capturing still images.
Silver is also used as an ingredient for many ointments, owing to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Due to these properties, silver is used in dietary supplements and water purification.
Silver mirrors have been used since the 19th century by coating the glass surface with a thin silver layer. Since these silver mirrors are lightweight and 95% reflective, they are also used in the aerospace industry to protect spacecraft from harmful sun rays.
Further, silver-coated glass is also used in skyscrapers, keeping them cool. Apart from these silver uses, this precious white metal is also used in making decorative or stained glass.
Among the top 10 uses of silver, investments in silver also have a prominent place in the list. This includes purchasing silver bullion, coins, bars, bonds and others. Investing in silver is considered a lucrative option, as silver retains its purchasing power during inflation.
As silver is cheaper than gold, this has a lower risk of price fluctuation, enabling people across the globe to invest in this precious metal.
Silver fulminate is used to create novelty explosives, allowing people to enjoy small silver explosions in the form of crackers at parties or festivals. These explosives contain a small amount of silver that creates a spark and small noise when hit against a hard surface.
Silverware is excellent for decoration and ideal as an investment objective. Eating food prepared using silverware has umpteen health benefits. With silver causing no reactions in the food, there is no change in taste or any adverse health reaction.
As silver does not oxidise even after prolonged usage, it is ideal to be used as tableware. Apart from this, silver is also used for decorating and garnishing food in India and a few Asian countries.
Cloud seeding is a process of creating artificial rain in drought-prone areas. Silver iodide encourages cloud condensation, after which rain or snow is recreated.
With so many uses of silver metal, this metal has become the backbone of umpteen products. Despite changing economic conditions and many advancements across sectors, silver has maintained its value. Furthermore, the uses of silver are evolving continuously as new products and industries continue to emerge.
Silver has been in use for a very long time. With the earliest record of silver utilisation found in Turkey, the application of silver dates back to 3,000 years ago. Silver coins from Ancient Greece indicate that silver was first mined and used as coins.
In India, silver jewellery is very popular among locals and tourists alike. The use of silver in rituals and traditional practices is popular among Indian households. Due to these applications, the sale of silver increases during weddings and festivities. Apart from these uses, silver finds its application across industries such as automobile, medicine, electronics and much more.
As silver is a good thermal and electric conductor, it is used to make wires, batteries, solar panels, soldering, and circuit boards.