Very few pewter findings date back to a period before the 14th century, except for some liturgical objects found in priest tombs in Metz, France. However we believe that pewter had been produced long before that time and in fairly good quantity; in fact in the 11th century, in the poorest churches, pewter patens were used instead of silver ones.

Between the 13th and the 14th century kitchenware of this material was common in families all over Europe. Pewter starts to be used on a larger scale in the 13th century when we also have pewter craftsmen guilds; in this period there is a thriving production of tankards and measures of capacity. In the 14th century items commissioned by churches and religious objects such as reli-quaries, holy water stoups and chalices are manufactured  in a more artistic and refined way.

In the 15th century the reopening of old European tin mines, the discovery of new big ore deposits and the economic and artistic ascent of France and Germany, help in spreading the use of pewter objects such as plates, tureens, cups and jugs, all meticulously polished, among the burgeois families, becoming valuable objects to be passed from one generation to another.

The spreading of pewter in Italy has been on a smaller scale compared to countries across the Alps because  here the use of ceramics has been greater, but the appreciation for its economic value is testified by a saying still in use in Milan to describe a rich person : “l’ha del pelter!” (he owns pewter!)

The production of pewter nowadays is regulated by the European rules  UNI EN that state the right amount of tin and the other metals which form the six classified alloys.

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