silver - A lustrous nearly white, ductile, malleable metallic element. Silver reacts with hydrogen sulfide in air to form silver sulfide — tarnish. It is used for sculpture, jewelry, tableware, and other ornamentations, and is widely used in mirrors, coinage, photography, dental and soldering alloys, electrical contacts, and printed circuits. Silver may be cast, embossed, inlaid, or worked as wire, sheet, foil, or leaf. Photographic emulsion contain silver halides, because of their sensitivity to light.

Examples of works in silver:

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightRussia, North Caucasus, Maikop Burial Mound, Vessel Decorated with Animals and a 'Landscape', middle of the 3rd millennium BCE, silver, height 9.6 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. See Russian art and Stone Age.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftEgypt, Western Thebes, Scarab of Wah, c. 1990-85 BCE, early Dynasty 12, Middle Kingdom, silver, gold, length 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. Much more often carved from stone, scarabs in silver are rare partly because silver ones deteriorated over time.



 

 

see thumbnail to rightRoman, Denarius, Septimius Severus (Emperor CE 193-211), silver, collection of Michael Delahunt. See numismatics.

 

 

Roman, Graincourt-lès-Havrincourt, 3rd century CE, Plate, silver, diameter 35 cm, Louvre.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftSasanian Iran, Dish, Shapur II Hunting Lions, 4th century v, silver, gilding, diameter 29.9 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightSasanian Iran, Head of a king, probably Shapur II, 4th century CE, silver, mercury gilding, height 15.8 inches (40 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightFrench, Bust of Louis XIV (1644-1712), silver medal, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris. See Baroque, engraving, and portrait.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftCornelius Kierstede (American, 1675-1757, New York, NY), Bowl, 1700-1710, silver, height 5 3/8 inches (13.7 cm), diameter 9 3/4 inches (24.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightPaul Revere (American, 1735-1818, Boston, MA), Paine Service, 1773, silver, Worcester Art Museum, MA. Paul Revere is also remembered for his heroism during the American Revolutionary War.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftPaul Revere, Hot Water Urn, 1791, silver, 22 x 10 3/4 inches (55.9 x 27.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightPaul Revere, Federal Style Tea Service, 1792-1793, silver, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftJohn Mortimer and John Samuel Hunt, makers (English, in partnership 1839-1842), Caviar Pail, 1841, sterling silver, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA. See helix.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightTiffany and Company (American, 1848-present, New York, NY), Presentation Tray, 1884, silver, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftTiffany and Company, The Magnolia Vase, c. 1893, silver, gold, enamel, opals, 31 inches x 18 inches (78.7 x 45.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightTiffany and Company, Coffeepot, 1893, silver and enamel, height 10 inches (25.4 cm), Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA. See Art and ewer.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftJosef Hoffmann (Austrian, 1870-1956) for Wiener Werkstätte, part of the Flat Model cutlery set, silver, c.1903-1904. See model and secession.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightEliel Saarinen (American, born Finland, 1873-1950), designer, Manufacturer International Silver Company, Wilcox Silver Plate Company Division (Meridan, Connecticut), Prototype Tea Service, c. 1933-35, electroplated nickel silver, brass, and Bakelite; Tea Urn, 1a-c: 14 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches (36.8 x 19.7 cm) Tray, 2: diameter 17 1/2 inches (44.5 cm) Creamer, 3: 3 x 6 x 3 7/8 inches (7.6 x 15.2 x 9.8 cm) Sugar Bowl, 4a,b: 6 3/4 x 6 x 3 7/8 inches (17.1 x 15.2 x 9.8 cm) Large Tray, 5: diameter 20 1/4 inches (51.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See prototype.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftJessie M. King (English, 1875-1949) for Liberty & Company, Buckle, 1913, silver and enamel, 2 1/4 x 2 inches (5.71 x 5.08 cm), Los angeles County Museum of Art. See Arts and Crafts Movement.

 


Sterling silver is an alloy containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, it is harder and more workable than pure silver. Symbol Ag; atomic number 47; melting point 960.8°C; specific gravity 10.50; valence 1, 2. A lustrous light-to-medium gray color.

Also see basketry, crown, and numismatics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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