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Electrum, a natural alloy

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When gold and silver appear naturally as an alloy, it is called electrum. There was even coins during other centuries based on this metal, or even millenniums ago across the singular ages of pharaohs. If the Latin name for silver means whitish, electrum tends to be whiter than pure gold with different reflections.

It looks like the name comes from the Greek culture, and it's a clear reference to electrons or electricity. The question is why because in those ages electricity was no more than a curiosity or a magic trick in front of audiences.

Either way, perhaps someone would ask about the process to separate those metals, an interesting question if you remember that since the new regulations about lead, some industries are using considerable quantities of silver to create new alloys. Silver is not particularly abundant in the planet with a one to several million ratio.

In the past, multiple people tried so many methods, with cases of creating specialized organisms or job titles for the task. It was not as easy as to melt the alloy, so the use of chemicals was suggested. Precipitation? It's called this way when a solid appears in a liquid. It seems that first hydrochloric acid was used, heated, after milling the material, with borax or mercuric chloride in the next phase and yes, with precipitation. Other processes included sulfuric acid or cyanide. Electrochemical reactions or leaching is also interesting, the use of a solvent to separate a certain element from a solid.

Pyrometallurgical refining must be very controlled to avoid harmful emissions, or in general related processes as the chemicals are dangerous.

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