by Mara

OH! You may be the person I am looking for! I
Googled a question about pewter and stumbled onto your site. I hope you can
help me!! I have been purchasing pewter beads from a large supplier located in
the U.S.. A couple of my customers that I know have returned their bead and
pewter bracelets to me becauase the "pewter" beads are turning copper color. I
have been trying to find out if this is normal pewter behavior or if I am being
sold something touted as pewter. I have contacted the company and have had no
answers or solutions for a year. I used pewter for the same reasons you state
in your newsletter. I liked the fact that it wasn't plated and wouldn't turn
copper or brass and would tell customers this. I loved the fact that it was a
silver color and was more affordable. I am so frustrated! Anyway, I have been
trying to learn more and recently cut a "pewter" bead (that looks like copper
at this point) in half. It looks siver inside! I filed a lar
ger "pewter" bead and it looked silver or pewter inside. I am starting to
suspect that they are pewter beads but are coated with copper and then silver
plated. Do you have any information about pewter beads that could help me? I
don't want to order anymore of these beads from this company if they are
selling crumby product. I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks,

Comments for

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 15, 2011
by: Anne Cecilie

Hello Mara,
Thank you for posting your question about Pewter.
Pewter is an alloy of Tin and small amounts of other base metals, like copper. They are supposed to contain Antimony to awoid or slow down the tarnishing of the base metals. I believe that the amount of copper and Antimony in cheaper pewter beads may be higher (copper) and lower (antimony) than in the more expensive ones.

The fact that they look like copper on the outside, but still are silver inside, may be because the alloy has tarnished the outside. I don't think they are silver plated. If they were, they would have been sold as silver plated base metal and not as pewter.

There are a few ways to avoid the tarnishing, if you want to continue buying from the same supplier. Always keep them in air tight container or zip-lock plastic bags, and tell your customers to do the same. Metals tarnish as a reaction to oxygen, therefor keep them airtight.
You can also add thin layer of some sort of laquer or varnish, which will prevent tarnishing.

I believe that the best thing to do though is to find another supplier and buy Pewter that are a bit higher in price. Lots of beads are made in third world countries, and it is not allways easy to know what they contain, so try to avoid the ones that are too cheap.

I hope that this was of any help to you. Keep on making jewelry with pewter and don't let it discurage you.

I wish you all the best!

Anne Cecilie

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Leave a comment C2