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The earliest Egyptians didn't have a word in their language for silver, only gold and electrum - an alloy of gold and silver found naturally. When silver was first introduced it was considered more valuable than gold, most likely because it was rarer. This may be verified because silver jewelry at the time was thinner and weighed less than comparable to gold jewelry. And silver items during the Old Kingdom of Egyptian rule were listed above gold items in household inventories.

In the middle Egyptian Kingdom gold was valued at about double that of silver. One of the first measurements of value was the silver shat. It was a flat round silver disk of a specific weight. It was not used as coinage per se but as a measurement of value. A cow was valued at 8 shats while a modest house was valued at 10 shats. One could exchange the house for the cow and demand an additional 2 shats of beer, bread, or other goods.

The Egyptians used silver by itself, in conjunction with gold, and as an overlay of copper. Solid silver coffins did appear but in most cases silver was used as a trimming or overlay.

Silver, as well as gold, jewelry in ancient Egypt was worn for decorative purposes and served a religious purpose. An amulet was thought to have spiritual powers that were bestowed on the person wearing it. An amulet is the representative symbol of a power fashioned into a concrete form, such as jewelry. For example: The beetle or scarab represented rebirth and was often worn by the deceased when they were entombed to help them in their journey to the afterlife.

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โˆ™ 2011-01-23 20:09:36
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Q: Why was silver more valuable than gold in ancient Egypt?
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