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Global silver demand by end use 2019

In 2019, the global jewelry industry accounted for 201.3 million ounces of the global demand for silver. That was more than one fifth of the total global silver demand. Silver is a precious metal that has the highest reflectivity, as well as the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal.

Silver's usefulness in antiquity and modern life

Silver has long been valued by humankind as a precious metal. It is used in various, diverse ways, such as in coins and in bars as currency or as an investment, in solar panels, water filtration devices, in photographic and X-ray film, medical instruments, and in jewelry. It is a soft, white and lustrous metal. Silver is one of seven metals of antiquity and has essentially always had a role in human culture. Already in prehistoric times people identified that its ductility and high reflectivity make it very attractive as jewelry. Furthermore, as it is not reactive to oxygen and hydrogen, and does not rust like other metals.

Present day silver production

Today, most silver is won in chemical processes after the extraction of lead ore and copper ore. Only about 20 percent of the silver that is produced today is extracted from silver ore reserves. In medieval times, most of the world’s silver was produced in Europe, but in the nineteenth century the world’s primary production of silver moved to North America. This still holds true, as Mexico is presently the global leader in silver mining.

Global silver demand in 2019 by end use

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Release date

August 2020



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