Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alpaca silver. What's that?

Garage sales last weekend were poor, and with hurricane Ike moving into Texas later this week (stay safe, everybody!), they’ll be non-existent this Saturday too. So on my way home from the dentist today (yeah, the one with the great faux rug), I rewarded myself with a trip to the thrift store where I found this great belt for only FOUR DOLLARS.

I love the look of these conchos. Things like this are appreciated here in Texas, but I realize they’re not for everybody. Nice ones are hard to fine and usually expensive. This one was made in Mexico and marked Alpaca Silver.

I need a little symbol here to let you know this is a learning moment. How about this? p OK, that’s settled.

p Alpaca silver is not silver at all. It’s really an alloy of metals such as nickel, tin, zinc, or copper. Sometimes it’s called nickel silver, but it has other names too, like German silver, new silver, and paktong. It’s frequently found in jewelry and musical instruments because it’s easy to clean. Just use lemon juice or a mild soap. Don’t use a liquid silver tarnish cleaner. It might turn the piece a little yellow. Experience talking here, don’t ya know.

But just because something isn’t real silver, doesn’t mean Alpaca silver pieces aren’t beautiful in their own right. That’s how I feel about my new's beautiful to me.

UPDATE: I wore my belt to Warrenton/RoundTop Sept. 30 and two separate dealers offered to buy it from me. I thought the first one was just kidding, but then later in the day the second one offered me $75. I told him I wasn't through loving it yet, and he offered me $100. I still have the belt!

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