Pewter Identification Marks
Pewter identification marks started centuries ago, when pewter pieces were branded or etched into the finished products to show that it was a quality product. The mark usually consisted of the mark of the city combined with the maker’s mark.
As time went on, the pewter makers started to use their own symbols and identification marks. It was at this point the guilds stepped in and brought forth rules and regulations for the stamps. Alloy regulations were put into place because the amount of tin in the product made a difference in the quality. Certain quality marks were put into effect for good, better and best.
Two of these known high quality marks are the crown with the rose and the ore angel Michael holding a sword in one hand and a balance in the other which dates back to the 18th century.
Pewter manufacturers today still use these old marks along with their company’s marks. The angel mark has never been controlled or regulated so you will find many pewter manufacturers today that continue to use this traditional stamp regardless of whether or not their product is really a “high quality” product. Some of these products that bear the angel mark may only have a thin plating of pewter or very low tin content and are usually referred to as decorative or ornamental type pewter.
To combat this, in 1973, the pewter guild came out with their hand-made seal as a representation of high quality pewter. Some manufacturers today do not even use a quality stamp other than their own company logo or seal.
So, although policies and rules have been tried to be put forth, they are not always followed when it comes to identifying the quality of the pewter. The best advice we can give you is to ask what the pewter content is and make sure you are buying from a reputable company. The FDA requires that the tin content be at least 92% in order to be qualified as “food safe” and you will find some companies go even beyond this point with up to 97% pewter. Even though the pewter content may be where it should be, who makes the products is also extremely important as we all know that quality can vary between different companies.