Alpaca refers to a type of metal alloy often used to replace silver. It consists of 55 percent copper, 20 percent nickel, 20 percent zinc and 5 percent tin. Alpaca is also referred to as nickel or nickel-copper plating. Because it resembles silver and is less expensive, alpaca silver is a popular material used in jewelry production. Alpaca jewelry is easy to care for as it does not tarnish as easily or as deeply as sterling silver and is easier to clean. Plated with sterling silver, alpaca jewelry is both durable and beautiful, making it a high quality product.