What metals are most commonly used by jewelry makers to make jewelry? Most men and women may correctly guess that its silver and gold. A couple may also mention platinum. However, not many would likely think of pewter. Although many jewelry owners and makers like pewter jewelry for many good reasons, a lot of people don’t recognize the valuable metal when they encounter it. On a worldwide basis, pewter is the fourth-most-common metal that is used to make jewelry and great as silver gifts for men.
Jewelers sometimes polish pewter in order to mimic platinum, silver and other types of white metals. Or in other cases, they may darken or antique the surface to give it a more bronzed appearance. Pewter is often used as a base with silver or gold plating added. Pewter is used to make many different types of pieces, but many still miss the important it has for jewelry making.
Reasons Why Pewter is an Important Metal for Making Jewelry
People have been making pewter jewelry for a very long time. There are examples found in collections and museums dating back to the Celts, Romans, and Ancient Egyptians. Since this alloy is too soft to use for weapons or tools, there wasn’t really a Pewter Age like there was an Iron and Bronze Age. However, most likely people learned how to make items out of pewter at around the same time they learned how to use bronze.
Pewter is made mainly out of tin, while bronze is mainly made out of copper. Therefore, bronze is harder. However, pewter has some other qualities that make it perfect for making jewelry. Throughout many historical eras, this useful alloy became quite prominent as a material that was commonly used to fashion numerous items. Common pewter items included candlesticks, tableware, eating utensils, and jewelry.
Consider the following reasons why pewter was such an important metal alloy in the past and continues to be a very popular choice now:
Given that pewter mostly contains tins, and usually has traces of antimony, copper, or other hard metals, this alloy is less expensive than silver, platinum, or gold. Most pewter jewelry, as well as other pewter items, are valued for their workmanship and beauty more than the price of the metal. When compared with precious metals, the more affordable cost definitely adds to the popularity of pewter.
Since tin is soft, that also makes pewter fairly soften, although it is hardened somewhat by the other metals that are part of the mix. However, this pliable quality does allow artists to create complex and distinct designs with pewter. Quite often pewter pieces are highly valued for their craftsmanship and artistic qualities.
The softness of the alloy means that owners must take good care of their pieces. However, they don’t need to worry that pewter will tarnish the way many metals like silver do. If you look after it carefully the jewelry will last a long time.
Pewter in the old days contained some lead in it for hardening purposes. Since lead may be toxic, it is wise for people to limit their exposure to vintage pewter. Belmont’s NEY Metals brand offers lead-free, safe pewter alloys for those applications that might come in contact with food or skin. This includes utensils, tableware, and jewelry. Other than tin, pewter alloys might contain small traces of bismuth, antimony, silver, and/or copper. Jewelry makers can choose the kind of pewter alloy they want based on molding techniques, their planned casting, its appearance, or its hardness.