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Tin jewelry has gained popularity as the price of silver jewelry has risen. They look a little at first glance.
Tin is mostly tin, a soft metal. It is alloyed in jewelry making and other uses with antimony or bismuth, hard and brittle metals. Earlier tin used lead as one of the alloys, but thankfully this practice is rare, at least in the United States.
In earlier times, tin utensils were what people ate. Plates and mugs during the Middle Ages up to the 18th and 19th centuries were mainly tin, before porcelain came into its own. I imagine this early tin was full of lead - but I haven't heard much about difficulties because of it.
Were tin jewelery made in earlier times? I think it was, but because of the softness of the metal and the ease with which it could be melted and used for other uses, not so much of it survived. It is possible that the Celtic people made their famous knot designs in tin.
But what about modern Pewter jewelry, and what would be its advantages over silver? Well, here are some:
o It is cheaper than sterling silver
o It is less likely to be tormented (especially tin that is cast unleaded)
o It has a warm, handmade look
These are all good reasons. I would add that the fact that the tin can be as detailed as the finest silver jewelry, and when properly cast and finished, is almost indistinguishable. That is, if you don't look really good. But if you just want the general silver-colored look and you're not a jewelry snob, why not own and wear some tin jewelry too?
Some people may find it difficult to get over the upset that has recently been transmitted via newspaper and the internet over the high lead tin supplied to us by suppliers in China. I agree that it is something to pay attention to when buying tin jewelry. You need to make sure the tin comes from a reputable source and was cast unleaded. Such jewelry exists, and I would like to guess that most jewelers who handle tin jewelry are very careful about the lead content today. Children are particularly vulnerable because they tend to stick things in their mouths without thinking.
But although tin jewelry has a dubious reputation in some circles, it seems to have most jumped back in popularity. I'm happy, because not everyone can afford sterling silver jewelry, and this can be a wonderful replacement for many of us.