I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Silver will be discussed here.
Silver is the most common and one of the most well-known precious metals. Occurring as a native metal in the earth's crust, it was a relatively easy task to extract silver for primitive people. Silver is a white, soft, and dense, and relatively unreactive. However, it does react with hydrogen sulfide to form a black tarnish of silver sulfide, even in trace amounts. Many silver compounds are light sensitive ( Silver Compounds in Light , another article I wrote), and were used in film photography. Silver is strongly antibacterial but is much less toxic than the other heavy metals. Silver dissolves in nitric acid but not in aqua regia because of the formation of an insoluble chloride layer. Silver forms a wide range of insoluble or slightly soluble salts, including the sulfate, chloride, bromide, and iodide, salts typically soluble for most other metals. Silver can be extracted from its ores by amalgamation with mercury, although this process is very environmentally unfriendly.
In element form: Sterling silver (92.5% silver 7.5% copper), as well as pure 3N silver metal (99.9% silver), are both used in jewelry. Silver plated relay contacts are relatively common. Some solders contain silver metal. Dental amalgams contain silver. Photographic film contains either silver iodide or silver bromide.
In compound form: Some prescription burn creams contain silver sulfadiazine. Silver oxide batteries contain a paste of silver oxide at the cathode instead of manganese dioxide in an alkaline battery.
Here is my sample of silver metal. It is a thin 99.9% silver wire purchased from a jewelry store.