A method of silver preconcentration by using a column containing Amberlite XAD-16 resin and this future determination by a flame AAS after elution is proposed. The effect of the factors such as pH, the nature of complexing agent, sample volume, flow rate, the type and concentration of elution solution on the preconcentration efficiency have been investigated. The influence of some matrix elements on the recovery of silver were also examined. It was found, that the quantitative recovery of thiocyanate complex of silver was obtained from nitric acid solution (pH 2) as 99.20 +/- 0.07% at the 95% confidence level. A preconcentration factor up to 75 could be obtained. The detection limit of silver was 0.047 mg l(-1). The adsorption of silver onto Amberlite XAD-16 can be formally described by a Langmuir equation with maximum adsorption capacity 4.66 mg g(-1) (0.043 mmol g(-1)). The proposed method was applied to determination of silver in standard alloy with relative error 6.25%. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.