What You Need to Know About Pewter: the “Other” Fine Jewellery Metal

Wilton Vinck

According to most people, the most common metal types to produce jewellery includes silver and gold. Some people even may add platinum into this list. It is very likely that not many people would be thinking of pewter for Silver and Pewter Gifts. Despite the fact that many jewellery owners and makers favour pewter jewellery for a number of good reasons, most people might not recognise this valuable allow when seeing it. Across the globe, pewter is in actual fact the fourth-most-common metal that is used in jewellery making.

In some cases, jewellers will polish pewter so that it mimics platinum, silver, or any other type of white metal. Other methods may include darkening or making the surface look like an antique to achieve a look that is more bronzed. In many cases, pewter is used as the base, and then a silver or gold plating is added to the surface. Pewter has been in use to produce a variety of different pieces, yet not many people know of its importance when it comes to jewellery making.

Why Is Pewter Such an Important Metal for Jewellery Making?

Pewter is a metal alloy that has been in use for many years. It is very possible to find these examples in collections and museums which date as far back as the Ancient Romans, Celts and Egyptians. Perhaps due to the fact that this alloy was regarded as too soft to make weapons or tools, there was no Pewter Age, like there was an Iron and Bronze Age. However, it is very likely that people from this age learned how to produce pewter around the same era that they learned how to produce bronze.

Bronze mainly consists of copper, while pewter is mainly made from tin. For this reason, bronze is a harder metal, yet pewter provides other characteristics that make it the ideal choice to create jewellery. During several historical periods, this useful alloy acquired prominence in the form of a common material that fashioned a variety of different items. Some of these pieces included eating utensils, candlesticks, tableware and jewellery.

Here is a list of why the alloy known as pewter formed an important part of history, and why it remains one of the popular choices of today:

1. Affordability

Pewter is mainly made up of tin along with typical traces of antimony, copper, or other types of harder metals. This makes this alloy a lot cheaper to produce when compared to silver, platinum or gold. Many of the pewter jewellery pieces or any other product is usually valued based on its workmanship and beauty rather than what the metal actually costs. In comparison to other precious metal types, the lower costs of pewter contributes to why it is so popular.

2. Durability

The softness associated with this alloy will mean that some care is needed with these pieces. Yet at the same time, owners of these pieces won’t need to worry about their pewter pieces tarnishing like a common metal such as silver does.

3. Versatility

Due to the fact that a metal like tin is soft, this means that pewter is also somewhat soft, even though other metals included in the mixture will harden the final product. Yet this trait makes pewter pliable which allows the artisans to create complex and distinctive designs when using this metal. The pewter pieces are commonly awarded for their craftsmanship and artistic merit.

What You Need To Know About Lead-Free Pewter

In previous years, pewter used to contain lead which performed the role of a hardener. Since it was discovered that lead is toxic, it would be a good idea to limit your exposure to any of the vintage pewter pieces. Belmont through our NEY Metals brand, only supplies lead-free and safe pewter alloys for any application that could come into direct contact with food or skin. This obviously includes tableware, utensils or jewellery. In addition to tin, the pewter alloys can contain trace amounts of bismuth, copper, antimony and/or silver. Jewellery makers often select a pewter alloy type based on its appearance, hardness or the techniques they plan to use to mold or cast their pieces.

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