Is Pewter Silver? - House of Morgan Pewter

Is Pewter Silver?

Nope. Pewter is pewter. Less expensive than silver, but just as striking and beautiful.

Pewter has a storied history and we are proud to be artisans of this metal that has been in fashion since before the common era.

Interested? Read on.

What is it?

Pewter is mostly made up of tin, with a small amount of copper and antimony, while bronze is mostly made of copper, with a small amount of tin. Metallurgists have speculated that pewter could have been invented when the quantities of metal in the alloy were reversed, either by accident or design.

Tin is the fourth most precious metal today after platinum, gold and silver, and pewter has long been prized as an alternative to silver.

Back in the day

Early sources of tin in Europe came from Cornwall, Devon, Brittany and the Iberian Peninsula. Italy was also supplied with tin from Tuscany until Roman times when tin mining was halted on the Italian peninsula in 80 AD by senatorial decree.

Even so, pewter prevailed.The center of the Italian pewter industry, Venice, imported its tin from the Middle East until the 15th Century, when cheaper sources of tin became available from Cornwall, which supplied the region until modern times.


Not so Dark Era

During the Dark and Middle ages, pewter production was limited due to conflicts throughout mainland Europe which curtailed tin production, and pewter was used primarily for religious iconography. Supposedly,  in 1290 AD, Edward I had over 300 pewter dishes, salts and platters, and no silverware.


Renaissance and Revival

During the Renaissance period, the newly arising middle classes used pewter in lieu of pricier metals. Pewter gradually replaced wood and clay as the mainstay materials for middle class householders.Plates and cutlery were often made of  pewter, being a more durable material than wood and less expensive than silver and gold.


Pewter craft guilds developed throughout Europe during this time, regulating the quality of work by pewterers. The more prestigious included the Guild of Pewterers in Nuremberg and the Worshipful Company of Pewterers in England.


However, Italy also offered a very rich and varied landscape of pewter guilds in various cities including Arts, Orders, Colleges, Scuoles or Fraglie in Venice, and Paratici in Brescia.


And now?

Through the tumult of the centuries, wars, and environmental disasters, pewter remained a viable material for craftsmen and artisans.

And today, handcrafted pewter is going through a resurgence, particularly the famous pewter producing region of Northern Italy, which is extremely well regarded globally for designing and manufacturing its highly esteemed tableware.

And here in North Carolina, stands The House of Morgan Pewter, a family-owned pewtery, maintaining the craft and the integrity of fine pewter designing and crafting.

So similar to the ancient workshops, House of Morgan Pewter is keeping ancient traditions of producing the art and the of passing the special skills and molds from one generation to the next.

Like the craftsmen throughout millennia, this skilled group of pewterers in NC are able to produce innovative and elegant designs. By honoring the heritage of pewter, and by honoring the traditional value of craftsmanship, and adding the best of 21st Century design, the ancient art of pewter-making flourishes in tiny Kinston, NC.

Back to blog

1 comment

I need 4 ornaments for Christmas
Can I see the choices


Leave a comment