Gold and silver are both used in the manufacturing of a variety of products including jewellery but how many people think about what went into making their sterling silver necklaces or gold-plated rings. The process of mining both silver and gold is time consuming and expensive, which is why these metals are so costly. Gold and silver have been mined for centuries with the techniques just getting better and better and new reserves being found to explore across the globe.
Silver is a precious metal that is found combined with sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorine as well as in various ores like argentite and galena. Our silver necklace made by 925 sterling silver. You will not find silver in nuggets like gold and as such it has to be extracted further through either amalgamation or electrolysis. So we melt these nuggets to create beautiful designs of silver necklaces
Silver is used in the manufacture of coins and as such silver mining has always been lucrative and it has been mined for many years. Like with gold and platinum new deposits of silver are discovered and lead to miners rushing to make their fortune. The most recent deposits of silver were discovered in the Americas, including Mexico, Canada and the United States.
Silver is mined, generally, as a by-product of other metals, like copper and gold. The extraction of silver is done by a method called smelting or chemical leaching. Smelting is a process where heat is applied to ore with the sole purpose of extracting the base metal, which in this case would silver. Silver can also be produced when copper is refined. The Parkes Process is another way for silver to be extracted from lead ores that contain small amounts of silver. Copper, copper-nickel and gold are the principal sources of silver and these are primarily found in Canada, Mexico, Poland, Australia and Peru, with Mexico being the largest producer of silver so we can hand make beautiful silver necklaces.
5 of the World’s Biggest Silver Mines
- Penasquito, Mexico. This is the world’s biggest silver mine by reserve.
- The second biggest mine is Polkowice-Sieroszowice in Poland
- San Cristobal is a silver-lead-zinc mine located in Bolivia with the 533.38 Moz of silver reserves.
- The fourth biggest silver mind can be found in Pitarrila, Mexico
- Located south-west of Warsaw is the 5th biggest silver mine in Lubin, Poland.
Gold Mining is estimated to be around 7000 years old and can be seen on graves in Bulgaria that where built between 4700 and 4200 BC. Gold items can be seen throughout history in many countries like India, Spain, Ireland and Romania. There were a few gold rushes that happened in the 19th Century across the globe which caused miners to migrate to these areas. The California Gold Rush, Victorian Gold Rush and Klondike Gold Rush are a few of the rushes that happened in the 1800’s.
Gold can be mined in a few different ways. Placer mining is a technique used to extra gold in placer deposits. These deposits are made of loose material which means tunneling is very difficult to do and so extraction is done using water or dredging. Gold panning is what most people associated with gold mining, it is a manual technique that uses shallow, wide pans. The pans are submerged in water and then shaken to sort the gold from the gravel. This method works well because gold is dense and so it settles to the bottom of the pan. Panning is an effective way to identify placer gold deposits. Sluicing is a common way to mine gold. Sluices are man made channels that have riffles in the bottom to collect the gold while all the other material flows out of the box. Dredging is also gold mining method that has been largely replaced but there are still some small-scale mines that use this method. Gold can be found in hard rock and in order for it to be removed a method called hard rock mining and open-pit mining are used.
- The biggest gold mine in the world can be found in Grasberg, Indonesia
- Muruntau gold mine in Uzbekistan is one of the worlds larges open pit mines.
- Olimpiada is a gold mine in Russia that has about 28 million ounces of gold.
- Papus New Guinea is a gold mine located in Papua New Guinea.
- The Dominican Republic is home to the Puevelo Viejo mine, of the of largest in the world
Is silver harder to mine than gold?
White gold or Silver necklaces - While gold is considered rarer than silver, above ground silver is actually a lot rarer. There is more gold above ground than silver while beneath the ground silver can be found in more abundance. Silver is a by-product of other metals whereas gold can be found in “nuggets” and does not need to be extracted, which does make it easier to mine.