How Is Silver Mined?

October 14, 2019 By swj-eric

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Silver is a precious metal that has played an important role in the discovery and expansion of our beautiful country, even before the famous Comstock Lode was founded in the mid-1800s.

Its characteristic glossy sheen has made silver a popular choice for use in coins, jewelry, tableware, and other items, but there are also some interesting lesser-known uses for silver that add to its appeal as a commodity.

Is silver, like gold, found mainly in its native form?

No. Unlike gold, which is most often found in its native form, finding native silver is actually very rare.

Instead, silver is most often found as a component of other minerals, as a natural alloy, or as a trace metal found in the ore of other metals. Today, the majority of silver produced in the world is a byproduct of mining other types of ore, such as copper, lead, and zinc.

What does silver mining involve?                

Mining is the process of extracting minerals (including precious metals like silver) from the Earth. Both open-pit and underground mining methods are used to extract silver-bearing ore from the ground, after which the silver must be separated from the ore by a process called smelting.

Smelting refers to heating the mined ore beyond its melting point to draw out the silver within. The process usually involves something called a “reducing agent” (one example is coke) to essentially break down the ore and facilitate the extraction process. After smelting, the silver is purified through a process called electrorefining.

Curious about the difference between fine silver, sterling silver, and silver-plated items? Check out our blog, What Are the Different Types of Silver?

Are there still silver mines in the United States?

Yes. Historically, silver has been discovered as far east as Massachusetts and New York and as far west as California, but the majority of silver currently mined in the U.S. comes from Alaska, Nevada, and Idaho.

Still, American silver output pales in comparison to countries like Mexico, Poland, and Bolivia, where some of the largest silver mines in existence are located.

How much is silver worth today?

Like gold and platinum, silver is measured in troy ounces (abbreviated ozt, oz t, or t oz), which are heavier than standard ounces. The troy weight system dates back to the Roman Empire and is used to ensure the value of silver, gold, and platinum remains consistent over time.

The term used to describe the current market value of silver is called the spot price. As of this writing, the spot price of silver is $18.13 per troy ounce. If you are wondering about the value of your silver items, one of the best ways to find out is to have them appraised by a trusted jewelry buyer.

Bring your silver to Southwest Jewelry Buyers for a fair and honest evaluation.

Here at Southwest Jewelry Buyers, we recognize the value of your unwanted silver pieces, and we offer top prices for your silver jewelry, coins, and more. Whether you’re a retail establishment or an individual seller, we are committed to paying our clients the highest prices anywhere in the valley. We even take broken or damaged jewelry!

When you visit Southwest Jewelry Buyers, you can be assured of an honest and ethical evaluation. In addition to paying the best prices for your silver pieces, our priority is to provide a simple and stress-free transaction that is always 100% confidential. Once our jewelry appraisal specialists have evaluated your precious metals, you can receive instant payment.

Contact us now for a free quote on your silver jewelry, coins, bars, medals, tokens, and other items. Not sure if we’ll take something? Give us a call at 480.773.8004.