WASHINGTON — Indians eat at least a million ounces of silver a year. They believe that silver is good for health and for this reason, water-thin tissues of silver foil are often included in sandwiches or are spread on on sweetmeats, according to the Silver Institute Letter. Last year, India bought more than 40 million ounces of silver in the international market, for all purposes (including consumption at the dinner table).
The reason for a surge in demand is that local recycling within India ceased in the 1980s and, in the past 10 years, industrial demand for silver has doubled to reach around 20 million ounces annually.
Also silver ornaments and jewelry, an essential form of saving for many Indian families, call for close to 10 million ounces of silver a year.