About.com cites that the element silver got its name from the Anglo-Saxon word seolfor or siolfur, both of which mean "silver." The Latin term argentum also means silver and is the origin for its chemical symbol, Ag. Argentum originated from the Sanskrit word argunas, which means shining.
Silver is especially shiny. Polished silver reflects 95 percent of visible light, and this property makes silver the most reflective element and useful for production of microscopes, mirrors, solar cells and telescopes. It is believed that silver was one of the first five metals discovered around 5,000 B.C. Silver objects have been found dating back to before 4,000 B.C., and separating silver from lead was discovered as early as 3,000 B.C.