What is the difference between pewter and vermeil and what are some of the base metals?
A base metal is defined as any non-precious metal, as opposed to precious metals such as gold and silver. Base metals include copper, nickel, zinc, lead, aluminum and tin.
Pewter is a metal alloy with an antiqued look. It's made with a high percentage (85-99%) of tin combined with copper, antimony and sometimes lead. Changing the percentage of copper gives pewter a brown look; adding lead gives it a blue one. Using pewter beads and findings is an affordable way to incorporate silver metal into your work.
Vermeil is gold in color. It's made by electroplating sterling silver with 24Kt gold. A more affordable choice than gold-filled beads and findings, vermeil is still considered a precious metal.