Pewter goblets are another form of primarily collectable stemware.
They are made of semiprecious metal and are therefore more accessible to more people than their precious metal counterparts, Gold and Silver. Pewter at one time was made with lead, this stopped when it was discovered that lead is in fact toxic and will contaminate food service items that touch it.
Today Pewter is made with a mixture of Tin, Copper and Antimony, Tin being the primary metal comprising around 95 percent of the alloy by weight. Pewter goblets are made in a similar way to other metal goblets. First they are cast by pouring liquid metal into a mold, then, are gradually brought to a finish. This is sometimes rough and sometimes polished to a mirror like surface.
The surface of Pewter, when finished, so closely resembles Silver that it may be confused for its precious metal cousin. Although glass has been the most common form of utilitarian stemware for many years, before its production reached an industrial level, Pewter goblets were the most common. As tin is the main ingredient in modern pewter alloys, pewter will not change the taste of the contents of the cup. It may however tarnish if put in the dishwasher. Due to the softness of its component metals, pewter alloys are soft and thus, pewter goblets do require some care.
Unlike glass or crystal goblets though, pewter goblets will not chip or crack. They may scratch, dent or bend if roughly handled. The process of pewter goblet making has taken the same turn as that of most traditional old world craft that is used for utility, it has become mechanized. There are however a number of craftsman who still use the old world techniques of creating these elegant, durable and useful pieces of stemware.
Written by Ryan Staub.