Today, silver is everywhere. Jewelry and fashion designers are turning to silver like never before, using it to create the big, bold looks that are so popular today. New, sustainable energy forms rely on silver and emerging technologies often require silver’s unique properties. Silver is everywhere you look, even if you can’t always see it.
When it comes to jewelry, few materials are better suited for it than silver. Lustrous but resilient, it responds well to sculpting, requires minimal care and lasts for a lifetime. Also, because it is not as expensive as gold, designers have the freedom to create larger, more elaborate pieces while keeping the price point down. Jewelry is one area where silver takes center stage, but there are other applications, though not quite as glamorous, in which silver is just as essential.
You may be surprised to find out how often you encounter silver before you’ve even left the house. For instance, did you know it plays an important part in insulation? Silver is a key ingredient in the production of two versatile and ubiquitous chemical compounds, formaldehyde and ethylene oxide, whose applications range from insulating fabrics to electrical connector housings to thermal and electrical wall insulation. Each year, more than 700 tons of silver go into producing these compounds.
Reducing our carbon footprints and being more “green” is one of the biggest concerns of our era. 90% of all photovoltaic cells rely on silver paste. These cells turn the sun’s rays into solar energy, one of the most valuable renewable energy resources we have. As fossil fuels grow scarcer and their prices rise, alternative energy resources will continue to grow in value. Already, national chains like Macy’s and Walmart are supplementing up to 40% of their power needs with solar energy.