In antiquity pewter was tin alloyed with lead and sometimes copper. Older pewters with higher lead content are heavier, tarnish faster, and oxidation have a darker silver-gray color. Pewters containing lead are no longer used in items that will come in contact with the human body (such as cups, plates, or jewelry) due to the toxicity of lead. Modern pewters are available that are completely free of lead, although many pewters containing lead are still being produced for other purposes.
A typical European casting alloy contains 94% tin, 1% copper and 5% antimony. A European pewter sheet would contain 92% tin, 2% copper, and 6% antimony. Asian pewter, produced mostly in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, contains a higher percentage of tin, usually 97.5% tin, 1% copper, and 1.5% antimony. This makes the alloy slightly softer.
So-called Mexican pewter is any of various alloys of aluminium used for decorative items.
Pewter is also used in fake jewelry, often passed off as platinum.