Throughout recorded history, human societies have gravitated toward Gold and Silver as forms of money due to their persistent global rarity as elements, durability, and desirable physical properties.
Silver has many uses. From Jlab:
Silver and silver compounds have many uses. Pure silver is the best conductor of heat and electricity of all known metals, so it is sometimes used in making solder, electrical contacts and printed circuit boards. Silver is also the best reflector of visible light known, but silver mirrors must be given a protective coating to prevent them from tarnishing. Silver has also been used to create coins, although today other metals are typically used in its place. Sterling silver, an alloy containing 92.5% silver, is used to make silverware, jewelry and other decorative items.
Gold also has many unique uses. From Jlab:
Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all known metals. A single ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet measuring roughly 5 meters on a side. Thin sheets of gold, known as gold leaf, are primarily used in arts and crafts for gilding. One sheet of gold leaf can be as thin as 0.000127 millimeters, or about 400 times thinner than a human hair.
Pure gold is soft and is usually alloyed with other metals, such as silver, copper, platinum or palladium, to increase its strength. Gold alloys are used to make jewelry, decorative items, dental fillings and coins. The amount of gold in an alloy is measured with a unit called a karat. One karat is equal to one part in twenty-four, so an 18 karat gold ring contains 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts alloy material.”
In modern markets, silver has always had a significantly lower per gram price than gold, due to its relative abundance compared to the yellow metal—gold is far rarer on our planet than silver, although both metals are more rare than more commonplace industrial metals, such as iron.
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