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What Is White Metal?

White metal is often used to create inexpensive jewelry.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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White metal is a broad term used to describe any type of metals that are alloys of a lighter color. A number of fanciful names for these types of alloys, including Christian metal, are common in many different cultures. As a group, white metal alloys may be used for a wide range of applications, including the creation of ornaments, decorative pieces, and different types of novelty items.

There are several benefits to using white metal in the production of different goods. Since many of the metals are inexpensive, the cost of raw materials is kept to a minimum. In addition, many of these metals are very easy to shape and work with in general. This makes it easier for artisans to create interesting pieces using punchcutting, bending and shaping, and other methods to achieve designs for items that are both attractive and affordable for just about everyone.

White metal of different types is often used to create different types of jewelry. This is true for both more expensive pieces and for inexpensive costume jewelry. The metals may be used alone or in conjunction with different types of natural and artificial stones, and even with some plastic components, depending on the nature and design of the piece. Along with jewelry, it is not unusual for white metal to be used in the creation of inexpensive plated flatware that has the look and feel of the more expensive stainless steel flatware.

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Metal of this type may also be used in the creation of different types of machine components. White metal in the form of some type of lead- or tin-based alloy is often utilized to create various types of bearings for use in heavy equipment and other applications such as wheel bearings in bicycles and similar consumer items. Various types of plugs common to manufacturing equipment may also be constructed using alloys of this type. Since the items are relatively inexpensive to produce, they can be replaced when necessary without creating a great deal of expense.

Several other types of goods, such as medals and plaques, can be made using white metal. Simple holiday ornaments may be manufactured using white alloys as one of the elements. Figurines for use in home and office decorating are often mass produced using different metals that are part of this particular classification. Wall art such as metallic hangings and other decorative items can also be made cheaply using the alloys, allowing people to enjoy a wide range of accents in the home, without incurring a substantial amount of expense.

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