Silver has been mined and worked for some six thousand years, but it was not the earliest precious metal to be discovered by humans. Gold came first, and the skills of metal-working had already been developed before silver became significant.
Silver is an element, and is usually found with other metals such as gold, tin, copper or lead. It has special properties which make it suitable for many uses: it can be melted and worked relatively easily, it can be polished to a mirror finish, and it even has antibiotic properties.
It has been used over the centuries for coinage, for jewellery and adornment, for high-status vessels and plate. It has been given as gifts on special occasions and associated with magic and the moon. Cultures as disparate as the Vikings and the Bedouins of North Africa told stories and myths about silver and the special status of silver-smiths.
Phillipa Merriman, herself a professional silversmith, writes entertainingly about the long and fascinating history of silver around the world. This beautifully-designed book will be a must-buy item for anyone who has ever worn, used or admired silver.
About the Author
Philippa Merriman is a silversmith and the Director of Merriman Silver Ltd. Before turning to silversmithing, she was a lecturer in philosophy and worked in social administration.