Silver is a precious metal located throughout the world in geological deposits. Colorado's state nickname is the "Silver State" due to the large deposits of silver ore found there. Silver is extracted from the ore by a smelting or leaching procedure. Here's how to identify silver ore.
Find an area that has produced silver ore in the past. The best place to begin looking is an established geologic region whose environment was favorable to ancient silver deposits.
Look for deposits of lead. Lead usually contains traces of silver and can be a guide to identifying more silver in the area. Lead can be a dark gray to black colored ore.
Watch for areas of quartz deposits. Quartz is considered the host rock for many silver deposits. Quartz is a crystalline structure that has a white to clear appearance. Bright white quartz with streaks of gray are a good indicator of the presence of silver ore.
Inspect each rock carefully since some silver deposits will be barely visible. Some silver runs through its host rock as "spider veins" that streak the interior of the rock and terminate just at the surface.
Visit old silver ore mines and reevaluate the mine's waste piles. Many abandoned mines left massive piles of waste behind that may still contain silver ore.
- Mining gear
Take along a small hammer and chisel set to assist with rock breaking. A small brush will come in handy, as well. Have a small spray bottle of water handy to cleanse the surface of the rock for a better view of the ore.
Use the utmost care when visiting abandoned mines, and obtain all necessary permits. Wear gloves and eye protection when mining silver ore since silver ore is typically embedded within lead, which can poison humans.