Tin, the main component of pewter, is extracted from a mineral called 'cassiterite' or tinstone and is found, in nature, mixed with other undergroung mineral deposits. The procedures needed to separate the tinstone from the other minerals are demanding.
Tin has a very high degree of malleability, but it is just as easily broken, if placed under pressure. When it breaks this metal emits a distinctive sound, defined as 'the cry of the tin'. It is an optimum heat conductor and this quality makes it suitable for use in the production of dishwarmers and ice-cream moulds.
Does pewter have lead in it?
No, every toxic element has been completely eliminated from modern alloys and the European Economic Community has dictated strict regulations regarding its composition. Antimony, copper and bismuth are carefully measured, to guarantee their use for table crockery; moreover, the addition of a small percentage of silver has been permitted in the alloy.
The alloy which we use today for all the objects meets all the EEC and USA requirements provided for food containers. It is made up of Tin (95%), Antimony (4-5%) and Copper (0.5%). Antimony and Copper should be used in order to give consistency and rigidity to Tin.