Keys to Adding Pewter Lockets to Your Collection

pewter locket

A pewter locket is a unique, moderately-priced piece of jewelry that makes a great addition to your collection.

About Pewter

The Ancient Romans used pewter in a variety of applications as early as 1500 B.C.E. However, the modern production of pewter seems to have originated in the smelting foundries of Cornwall, England. Over the years,the popularity of this metal grew and London dominated the world production of pewter. Pewter was called the poor man's silver, since it was far cheaper than sterling but still displayed a cool silver color.

Pewter is made from several metals. The largest ingredient is tin, which can be anywhere from 91 percent to 97 percent of the final product. The tin content determines just how much silver color is displayed. To strengthen the metal, copper and antimony are also added. Modern pewter doesn't contain lead, while antique pewter typically has some lead content.

Pewter jewelry has the following other properties:

  • The surface of the piece typically displays a pitted appearance.
  • Pewter is a softer and more pliable metal than gold or silver, making the jewelry somewhat fragile.
  • Pewter doesn't tarnish like silver, so cleaning your pewter jewelry is mostly a matter of buffing any oxidized areas with a soft polishing cloth.

Pewter Locket Styles

Because of its affordability and beauty, pewter is used in a variety of jewelry applications. Lockets are very popular with consumers, and pewter lockets have been on the market for many years. Just like those crafted from gold or silver, these lockets come in a variety of designs:

  • Personalized pewter lockets: You may want to personalize your locket with a sentiment inscribed inside or on the back. Monogramming of initials is a popular choice for making a piece of jewelry personal.
  • Pewter and Precious Metals: You can find some pewter lockets that have gold, silver, or brass embellishments or are decorative parts of the design.
  • Stylized Lockets: Out-of-mold types of lockets are generally found on individual jewelry makers' sites, although you can find some on commercial websites. This type of locket has a unique and one-of-a-kind feel and can range from engraving or decorative molds to special opening mechanisms.

There are three main finishes:

  • Antiqued: This is a purposefully aged pewter finish that will have a grayish or blackish patina designed to resemble lead oxidization.
  • Polished Pewter: This is a very reflective finish, which can suffer from scratches. To remove these dings, you can purchase cleaning kits containing a Rottenstone polish and a soft cloth.
  • Satin Pewter: This is a grainy type of finish that has no luster.

Some antique lockets might contain lead and will have the telltale sign of blackened metal from oxidization. This isn't a good gauge for antiquity or vintage authenticity, since pure pewter will also oxidize. Older lockets made out of pewter might simply oxidize faster than lead-free pieces.

Shopping for Your Pewter Locket

There is a wide range of lockets on the market, so you should be able to find one that fills your ideal vision for a cherished piece of jewelry. Consider the following shopping resources:

  • Amazon: You can always find lockets made from pewter on Amazon. Some are stylized with intricate carvings and engravings in heart and oval shapes.
  • Bizrate: Let Bizrate comb the Internet for great deals on pewter lockets.
  • Find Gift: You'll discover a wealth of possible lockets for you on this shopping website.

Discovering the Beauty of Pewter

You may have already discovered the pleasure of pewter as an alternative precious metal to gold and silver. However, if you've never owned any pewter, then you're in for a surprise when you purchase your first locket.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Keys to Adding Pewter Lockets to Your Collection