- Pewter is a combination of several different types of metal. In the 18th century, before people realized that lead can cause serious health issues, pewter was commonly made with lead. Today, pewter is made of primarily tin, which is a relatively soft type of metal. To harden the pewter, manufacturers add other harder metals such as antimony, copper, bismuth or silver. It ranges in shade from light to dark silver.
- Only metals that contain iron are susceptible to rust. Because pewter does not generally contain iron, it will not rust. As such, pewter will not corrode or tarnish over time. Because of this, manufacturers often make keepsakes and heirlooms out of a pewter alloy. Pewter will develop an antique patina over time.
- Because you don't need to regularly clean oxidation and tarnish from its surface, pewter is relatively simple to care for. Some people choose to let it keep the antique patina by simply wiping the pewter with a clean cloth. Others, who want to remove the patina and restore the original gray color, will wash it with soap and water. Never use abrasives to clean pewter as it is soft enough that it will get scratched.
- Manufacturers make some types of pewter with a high gloss finish. You can polish this finish to restore the new and pristine look of the pewter. To do this, spray metal polish on the pewter and rub it with a clean cloth. Rub in straight rather than circular motions to get the brightest shine possible.