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The metal is actually an alloy (two or more metals mixed together); usually containing 85-99% tin and the rest copper. Lower-grade pewter has a bluish color because lead is also added. Although there is little practical use for the metal today its still a popular material for decorative objects because it is easy to produce while retaining an elegant texture.Copper is renowned for its ability to withstand the natural elements; it is the only material that doesnt rust. Instead it oxidizes - which means it forms a unique green cover when exposed to oxygen (think of the statue of liberty). Besides aging gracefully copper doesnt physically deteriorate unlike other metals. The oxidation layer makes the metal stronger which reduces the need to replace any door knockers made out of copper.
Especially if you are purchasing a gift. You may not know exactly what you want. The decor of the home should be considered. Door knockers come in many styles and finishes. You would not place an ultra modern style door knocker on a colonial style home. Many traditional styles do not fit in well with modern houses. If your purchase is for a wedding gift or housewarming gift and you may not know where the door knocker will wind up. In this case there are many styles available that are universal. If not certain of the final location it is best to stay simple. Do not get to fancy. A simple style goes with most decors.
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Although intricate door knockers are popular these days the origins of that knocker may be something far more regal than it simply looking nice on the door. Greeks were a bit picky about unannounced visits to their dwellings. It was considered a breach of etiquette to enter a dwelling without warning. Where Spartans would simply shout their arrival the more sophisticated Athenians preferred to use a door knocker. Doors had replaced flexible hangings to provide better safety and privacy. Upper class Greeks had slaves whose sole purpose was to answer the door. Its a bit like having a butler but one that was chained to the door to prevent them wandering off.