Silver also has the highest refractive index out of all metals (except liquid mercury) and can be polished to such a high sparkle and shine that even platinum can't achieve. In fact, the chemical symbol for silver, Ag, is derived from the Latin, Argentum, meaning, "white and shining."

The finish on silver can be high polished, matte or brushed (rubbed with an abrasive), satin (a smoother matte), sandblasted (rough matte), oxidized (chemically blackened), or antiqued (chemically "aged"). Silver is said to have a "patina," a worn-looking finish that is achieved through frequent use and handling, and is particular to the wearer's skin chemistry.