Gold is certainly many times more costly per ounce than silver. Most of us can’t afford to eat with gold utensils, but every home has silverware as utensils and decorative objects. We wear all sorts of silver jewelry, from belt buckles to necklaces decorated with gems.
On one of my visits to the British Museum (now the Natural History Museum) in London, Museum Curator Pete Embrey suggested I visit the Silver Vault, about which I had never heard. When Carol and I visited the vault, we were astounded. We were allowed to visit the lower level of a building near Harrods. After passing a guard and security cameras, we walked into a long hall lined with vaulted rooms like a bank. Each room was filled with sterling silver objects such as candelabras, huge bowls, trays, tea serving sets, and all sorts of animal sculptures, including large swans and ducks done in sterling silver. These items had been the property of the wealthy of England back in the great days of England’s Empire. It was an amazing sight to see so much sterling silver. If you make it to London, make a point to go see all that wealth in sterling silver!
After I painted that picture, would you believe that native silver specimens are rarer than native gold specimens? You might think my age is showing. However, native gold specimens are indeed more common than native silver specimens. We have found gold in more or less pure form ever since humans picked up the first yellow nugget. How many times have you heard of someone picking up a shiny silver nugget? Even when native silver is found, it may not look much like its natural shiny white color, thanks to its tarnish. It is most likely black. You simply don’t find native silver scattered about, causing a silver rush to happen and prompt people from all over the world to flock to the destination to mine silver. That has happened countless times when native gold has been found, as in Alaska, California, Australia, South Africa, and who knows where else. There have been rushes to stake claims on silver deposits like the Comstock Lode of Nevada, but it started as a gold discovery even there. The Comstock Lode was the first and biggest silver discovery in America, but the miners were not mining native silver but silver compounds. Native silver was found, but the ore was argentiferous ore and silver compounds, not native silver.
SILVER IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
ROOSEVELT DAM AGATE: A Gem Loaded with History
The Roosevelt Dam agate is a very limited-occurrence lapidary material, uncovered during the excavation of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam in Arizona, hence the obvious name of Roosevelt Dam agate.
GEORGIUS AGRICOLA'S: DE RE METALLICA
465 Years Old and Still Relevant
Trisparkle 12 Design Marks New Approach
I want to thank Jim Perkins for his many years of providing outstanding faceting designs for the Rock & Gem readership.
Scientists Looking at a Possibly Undetected Volcano in Alaska
Is there a previously undiscovered volcano within Alaska’s Aleutian chain of islands? A team of scientists recently presented their findings surrounding this possibility during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
COMMON, BUT NOT CONVENTIONAL
Discovering the Splendor of SLAG
A pile of slag remaining from copper smelting operations of 1930s Cottonwood, Arizona is one area of focus for Minerals Research, Inc. (MRI), the company pursuing a 15-20 year process to remove the pile using innovative recovery technology.
HUNTING FOR THUNDEREGGS
Uncovering A “Ghost” Volcano’s Treasures
GALENA’S GIFT OF A STUNNING SECONDARY MINERAL
Anxiously Awaiting a New Museum Opening
With the year 2021 upon us, Arizona collectors are certainly excited about the pending May opening of the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum in downtown Tucson. Of course, the excitement extends beyond the border of Arizona and to far reaching locales around the globe.
Captivated By Copper
Soldiers’ Discovery Leads to a Century of Mining at Pearl Handle Open Pit