What is pewter?
Pewter and bronze are related alloys. Pewter is primarily tin, with a small amount of copper, whereas bronze is an alloy made mainly of copper, with a small amount of tin. Pewter is considered to be a precious metal and became popular in the Middle Ages. It was used for kitchenware and in churches, initially available only to the very wealthy. Eventually pewter reached the masses and became common in taverns, cottages, and inns. Pewter is considered to be a soft, yet durable metal, and many historical pieces made from pewter have survived over the centuries.
Is pewter used in jewelry?
Pewter is the fourth most popular metal used in jewelry, behind gold, silver, and platinum. In the past, lead was often used in pewter. Today, because the adverse impact of lead on the human body is well-documented, almost all pewter items created in the U.S. are made lead-free. Pewter is popular because it can be polished to a high shine, chemically darkened for an antique look, or “brushed” to leave a rough surface. Because of its low melting point, those who work with pewter are able to create jewelry with intricate detail. Pendants, rings, buttons, belt buckles, and earrings are all popular ways in which people wear and exhibit their favorite pewter pieces.
How to clean pewter jewelry?
Pewter jewelry should be kept away from sources of extreme heat and removed when working with any kind of chemicals. Pewter retains its polished surface longer if it is not worn while engaging in activities that can be hard on it, such as sports, heavy cleaning, or work that is tough on hand jewelry (if wearing rings or bracelets). Cleaning pewter jewelry involves nothing more than mild soap, water, and a soft cloth. Pewter polish is available, but only a small amount should be used and as seldom as possible. When storing pewter jewelry, wrap items in tissue paper or a soft cloth to ensure they last a long time.