Metalware is always a fantastic addition to your home collection. Candlesticks, flatware, serveware, and other metal goods add a touch of shine to your table. Of course, no two metals are the same. Each is a unique material. Let’s take a look at some of the various types of metal and the products made from them.
Aluminum alloy is a mixture of mostly aluminum and other metals (often copper and magnesium). Aluminum is a soft metal; it can be worked very easily and thus can be found in a variety of shapes and finishes. It can be hammered or cast, and can have a variety of textures ranging from a brushed finish to a mirror-like one. Aluminum products are typically thinner, so heat will pass through them quicker. Some aluminum cookware is coated with a non-stick substance. If this is the case, you should avoid heating the cookware over 400°F, as the coating can evaporate. Aluminum alloy products are usually a bit cheaper, but hand designed products can be a bit pricier.
Stainless steel is what most flatware is made from. It’s made largely from iron, with at least 10% of it being chromium. Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion (although it can corrode under certain conditions) and is also fully recyclable. Stainless steel can be found in many different finishes. It’s a strong metal (it was often used on trains in the 1930s for bolstered integrity) and is relatively inexpensive to produce. Stainless steel product prices will vary depending on the quality of the steel, the manufacturer, and intricacy of design. The best part about stainless steel? As its name suggests, it is a low maintenance material and can be cleaned very easily without worrying about damage. Just don’t soak it too long!
Pewter, an alloy of tin and usually some copper, has been around since the Bronze age. Before glass or porcelain, pewter was the standard for making tableware. It is a very soft metal, so care should be taken to avoid denting it. Pewter can be hand washed in hot soapy water, but is not dishwasher safe and should not be cleaned with anything too abrasive. It should also be cleaned immediately after serving anything acidic, as this can also damage the finish. Pewter is an ornate metal, and is typically on the expensive side. That said, pewter is a mainstay of decorative metalworking. If cared for properly, it will add old-world charm to your home for many, many years.