Silver and pewter (which is simply a fancy name for the element tin) are decorative metals cast, fabricated, or both in nearly pure form to produce useful but showy items ranging from tableware to candlesticks. Silver, the more precious metal, is mostly for expensive showpieces. Pewter once served as everyday ware. In period times, both were kept shiny as prize possessions. Careful. Some period pewter alloys and some reproductions contain lead, a known toxin. Check the alloy before using pewter for food or beverage purposes.