Silver is a white, malleable metallic element, found in ores such as argentite. Silver will oxidize, although like verdigris on copper and bronze this black "tarnish" occurs only on exposed services and actually forms a protective barrier to further oxidization.
Harder and less malleable than gold silver was, and still is, highly valued for jewelry, tableware, and other ornamental use; some believe that the Norse valued it more highly than gold itself. During period it was, along with gold, an important part of trade.
It was used widely in coinage.