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Author Topic:   What is "alpaca" or "alpacca"?

Posts: 2
Registered: Sep 99

iconnumber posted 10-27-1999 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for janwg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
and does the definition of alpaca/alpacca differ depending on the country of origin?

i have seen american-made items from the early 20th century marked alpaca/alpacca, and Mexican-made items marked alpaca/alpacca.

thank you!

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Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 10-29-1999 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alpacca seems to be a fancy term for plain old german or nickel silver. I am not sure who first used the term, or why. Like you, I have seen it on Mexican, American and European wares. I have also seen both plated and unplated items marked alpacca. In the case of the plated items, alpacca is probably referring to the base metal.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-30-1999 12:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alpacca or Alpaca: An alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc, forming a silvery white metal, imitating silver, but with no silver content. Other names for this mix of metal are Albata, German silver, nickel silver, N.S. (Nickel silver), white metal.

The alloy of is usually found:
60-65% copper
5-25% nickel
10-30% zinc

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 12-06-2000 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alpaca or Alpacca (I think the latter spelling is usually on European pieces, the former on Mexican) is an alloy composed of 98% zinc & brass and 2% silver. Without a silverplated finish, alpaca tends to polish up nicely, but may soon turn to a kind of repulsive (at least to me), lustreless, splotchy, brassy-silver color. Actually, in my travels to antique stores & flea markets looking at jewelry & silver I've seen many Mexican pieces stamped STERLING 925 AND "Alpaca." These pieces are never sterling. In fact, many pieces marked STERLING without the Alpaca mark are still Alpaca. All of these Mexican pieces are inferior in quality. A fair amount of jewelry was made, seemingly in imitation of or inspired by Theodor Fahrner designs, in Germany that is marked Alpacca; as noted, the base metal is alpaca metal.

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Posts: 625
Registered: Jan 2003

iconnumber posted 05-10-2003 06:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stephen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul, are you talking about the same thing the Brent and Scott are? I'm confused.

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Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 05-10-2003 09:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe most if not all of the many alloys of nickle copper alloys, that go by a multitude of names, have no silver in them. All references I have seen concerning alpaca/alpac state that they are composed of only base metals. I do not believe adding silver to the alloy would create any desirable properties to the alloy except to raise the cost of making it.

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