What is pewter?
Many of the cups in our collection are made from pewter. Pewter is a metal alloy mostly made from tin, with the remainder usually a mixture of copper, antimony, bismuth, and (sometimes) silver. Historically lead was used but nowadays that’s not considered a good idea.
Tin is an amazing metal in lots of ways, and is the fourth most expensive precious metal in common use after platinum, gold, and silver. It can be worked in a lot of ways and you can get a variety of really attractive finishes, so it's no surprise that it's often used for jewelry. But the trouble is that it’s quite soft in its pure form and wouldn’t make a great cup. That’s where pewter comes in. Mix small amounts of copper and antimony into the tin and it gets much stronger and more durable, and becomes a very practical material for drinkware and all manner of pewter gifts.
So why is pewter so great for tankards?
1. Its a traditional choice.
Pewter is the traditional choice. It’s been used by discerning drinkers since the middle ages. Even when pewter was replaced by porcelain for plates and most cups in the 18th century, people kept their tankards and there are many pubs in Europe where ‘regulars’ will have their own pewter tankard kept behind the bar.
2. They make beautiful cup designs.
Pewter makes beautiful cups. Traditionally known as ‘poor man’s silver’, or ‘the white metal’, it can be finished in a variety of different ways and catches the light in a way that is matched only by real silver. And pewter doesn’t tarnish like silver does.
3. They're practical.
Pewter is practical. Pewter is durable, safe with beer (see above), easy to clean, and (so long as you get modern lead-free pewter like ours) won’t tarnish over time.
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