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Silver has been used for jewellery since ancient times and is mined all over the world. It was widely used in the late 18th Century for setting diamonds because its white colour complimented the colourless stones better than gold. Apart from for peasant jewellery, silver did not become a widely accepted metal until the latter half of the 19th Century, after the discovery of huge deposits in Nevada in 1860. This sudden availability was coupled with increasingly well-off middle and working classes with money to spend on inexpensive jewellery.

 

 

Gold has always been regarded as the most important metal for jewellery because of its rich colour, malleability and durability. The main producers of gold are South Africa, the former Soviet Union, the United States and Canada.

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