A Metal for the Future

Silver provides outstanding:
  • Strength
  • Malleability
  • Ductility (stretched into wire)
  • Electrical and thermal conductivity
  • Light reflection
  • Ability to withstand temperature extremes
Silver’s properties have long made it an essential element for many
applications including:
  • Jewelry
  • Décor & Tableware
  • Industrial applications and alloys
  • Batteries
  • Electronics
  • Computers and cell phones
  • Coinage and a store of value

Although used for thousands of years for coinage, jewelry and other decorative items, silver’s relatively recent industrial applications have accounted for most of its dramatic increase in usage during the 20th and 21st centuries. The metal’s unique and valuable properties have made the metal indispensable to the modern world. Silver is particularly important for ongoing technological advances in a wide array of communication, aerospace, defense and computing technologies.


Expanding Use

Into the Future-Silver for Technology and Medicine

The Silver Institute reports: “When we take a broad look at the latest technological advances and the most important ones of the last century, we see the role of silver in nearly every major field of advancement.”

New uses for silver are being discovered regularly, especially in technology and medicine. Because silver is one of the best electrical and thermal conductors, the metal has proven ideal for the development of new electronic devices including:
  • Smart phones
  • Plasma-display panel televisions
  • Tablet computers
  • Solar photovoltaic panels.

In fact silver will be found in just about any electronic or technological item. Truly, these things cannot be built without silver.
But let’s turn from the inorganic to the organic. Silver has literally no chemical substitute for many of its antibacterial properties. That’s why the metal is being employed in new water purification systems and a host of new medical applications including wound dressings, bone prostheses, cardiac devices and on fabrics to reduce the spread of infection.


Investment Value

Silver’s intrinsic value as a precious metal has led to its use in coins and investment bullion throughout history. More recently, economic uncertainty, political tension, worries over currency devaluation and dwindling supplies have greatly boosted silver’s investment appeal.

The rise of silver Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and dramatically increased minting of silver coins have provided much better access to silver as an investment tool. Annual sales of US Silver Eagle coins nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2013 (over 42.4 million sold in 2013), with 37.7 million sold in 2016 and a decrease to over 18 million in 2017. Sales of Canadian Maple Leaf coins have increased from 403,000 in 2000 to over 32 million in 2016.

Part of silver’s appeal is its affordability compared with gold. At current prices, the gold/silver ratio is about 80:1. Over the past 20 years, the ratio has ranged from over 90:1 in 1993 to just over 30:1 in 2011. But historically the ratio has dipped as low as 15:1 (1840 and 1980) to nearly 100:1 (1940 and 1990). The long-term historical average is around 27:1. Bullish silver investors point to the current high ratio as a strong indication that silver prices will rise further in the coming years.


Overall, we believe the long-term trend for silver is bullish. The main drivers will be investment demand and silver’s increasing industrial usage—especially in solar panels and emerging technology.


Historical Charts

For a wide range of detailed historical and current silver charts, visit Kito’s Precious Metals Charts page: