Silver is a shiny white metal with several extraordinary characteristics. It is malleable, pliable and beautifully lustrous. Silver is also highly reflective and conducts electricity extremely well. It even kills bacteria. All of these features make silver a valuable metal in a diverse array of industries including jewelry, electronics, energy and medicine. Yet these characteristics only scratch the surface of why silver is important in the global economy. Silver is very rare and, along with gold and six platinum group metals, belongs to a group known as precious metals. For thousands of years, people have acquired silver as an investment and store of value.