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|System:||Isometric||Colour:||Silver-white, tarnishes ...|
|Lustre:||Metallic||Hardness:||2½ - 3|
|Name:||An Old English word "seolfor" whose original meaning is now lost. The current spelling "silver" was known as early as 1478. Known in ancient Roman times as argentum. The chemical element abbreviation Ag comes from argentum.|
Copper Group. Gold-Silver Series and Palladium-Silver Series.
Silver is used in jewelry, tableware, coins, scientific equipment and in photographic processes. Silver tarnishes black with a surface layer of acanthite (silver sulphide), especially when placed in proximity to sulphurous compounds. It is primarily found as a constituent of hydrothermal veins. It is often found associated with copper. Unlike gold, it is soluble in any oxidizing mineral acid.
Classification of Silver
|IMA status:||Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"|
|Strunz 8th edition ID:||1/A.01-20|
|Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:||1.AA.05|
1 : ELEMENTS (Metals and intermetallic alloys; metalloids and nonmetals; carbides, silicides, nitrides, phosphides)
A : Metals and Intermetallic Alloys
A : Copper-cupalite family
|Dana 7th edition ID:||22.214.171.124|
|Dana 8th edition ID:||126.96.36.199|
1 : NATIVE ELEMENTS AND ALLOYS
1 : Metals, other than the Platinum Group
|Hey's CIM Ref.:||1.2|
1 : Elements and Alloys (including the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au)
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Occurrences of Silver
|Geological Setting:||1) Primary Hydrothermal veins|
2) Secondary enrichment
3) Alluvial nuggets
Physical Properties of Silver
|Colour:||Silver-white, tarnishes dark gray to black|
|Hardness (Mohs):||2½ - 3|
|Hardness (Vickers):||VHN100=61 - 65 kg/mm2|
|Density (measured):||10.1 - 11.1 g/cm3|
|Density (calculated):||10.497 g/cm3|
Crystallography of Silver
|Class (H-M):||m3m (4/m 3 2/m) - Hexoctahedral|
|Cell Parameters:||a = 4.0862Å|
|Unit Cell Volume:||V 68.23 Å³ (Calculated from Unit Cell)|
|Morphology:||Crystals are cubic, octahedral, dodecahedral to a cm. Often elongated to many cm in herring bone twins and wires (crystals elongated along the  axis)|
|Twinning:||Penetration twins on (111) with cubes from Kongsberg and tetrahexahedrons from Michigan (bearpaws). Arbourescent growths twinned on (100) and on (111).|
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About Crystal AtlasThe mindat.org Crystal Atlas allows you to view a selection of crystal drawings of real and idealised crystal forms for this mineral and, in certain cases, 3d rotating crystal objects. The 3d models and HTML5 code are kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.
Edge Lines | Miller Indicies | Axes
Opaque | Translucent | Transparent
Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation
|Epitaxi Comments:||"Halfbreeds" with Ag on Cu and more rarely Cu on Ag. The face centred lattice is continuous between the two minerals.|
Wires with black Acanthite crystals and coating form by continuing the face centred cubic silver between the minerals.
|X-Ray Powder Diffraction:|
Optical Data of Silver
Graph shows reflectance levels at different wavelengths (in nm). Peak reflectance is 86.5%.
|Colour in reflected light:||brilliant silver white|
Chemical Properties of Silver
|All elements listed in formula:||Ag|
|Analytical Data:||Apart from the Gold-Silver series, native silver is often relatively pure (especially secondary silver). It often contains significant amounts of mercury (up to 20%) and antimony (up to 5%). Reported copper- and arsenic-rich varieties.|
Au 0.004 Cu 0.011 Fe 0.024 Sb 0.581 Hg 1.130 Total 100.2
Relationship of Silver to other Species
|Series:||Forms a series with Gold (see here)|
Forms a series with Palladium (see here)
|Member of:||Copper Group|
|Other Members of Group:|
|Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):|
|Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:|
|Related Minerals - Dana Grouping):|
Other Names for Silver
|Fluorescence in UV light:||none|
Display Requirements from:
|Health Warning:||No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.|
|Industrial Uses:||Electrical conductor, in photo-active chemicals in film and light darkening glass, jewelry, coinage.|
References for Silver
Guertler (1912) Metallographie. Berlin: 1: 769.
McKeehan (1922) Physical Review, a Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics: 20: 424.
Goldschmidt, Victor Mordechai (1923), Atlas der Krystallformen, Verlag Winters, Heidelberg: Vol. 8: 38.
Holgersson and Sedström (1924) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 75: 143.
Murphy (1931) Journal of the Institute of Metals, London, Proceedings: 46: 507.
Broderick and Ehret (1931) Journal of Physical Chemistry: 35: 3322.
Stenbeck (1933) Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie, Hamburg, Leipzig: 214: 16.
Drier and Walker (1933) Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science: 16: 294.
Lindgren, Waldemar (1933): 600.
Vegard and Kloster (1934) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 89: 560.
Owen and Rogers (1935) Journal of the Institute of Metals, London: 57: 257.
Montoro, V. (1938), Studio sulla orientazione preferenziale delle cristalliti nella varietà filiforme di argento nativo. Periodico di Mineralogia – Roma pp. 55-59.
Peacock (1940) University of Toronto Studies, Geology Series: 44: 31.
Palache, Charles, Harry Berman & Clifford Frondel (1944), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Seventh edition, Volume I: 96-99.
Zapiski Vserossiyskogo Mineralogicheskogo Obshchestva (1979): 108: 552-563.
American Mineralogist (1980): 65: 1069.
Extra Lapis No. 8 (1995).
Best Localities for Silver
|Best of Species:||Silver|
Internet Links for Silver
|Specimens:||The following Silver specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.|
Localities for Silver
The map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.