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Spelter [metal] is an alloy composed chiefly of zinc. It was much used around the latter part of the C19th as a cheaper substitute for bronze, principally in cast decorative pieces, and was often painted or patinated to simulate ivory or bronze. It is very soft and malleable, but when cast tends to be crystalline and brittle, and which when broken shows a granular, silvery fracture plane. In many cases it was copper-plated before any other finish such as gold plating was applied and therefore a worn piece may look coppery. It as quite fragile if thin and there is no really satisfactory method of repair. In some cases such as figurines, a filler such as plaster may be added to give weight and strength. Spelter can often be detected by a scratch in an inconspicuous place showing a bright silver colour where otherwise one might expect bronze or copper.