Zinc is the 30th element on the periodic table. It is a shiny, silver metal that is not very malleabel or ductile. it is commonly used in the manufacture of US pennies. (after the rise in the price of in copper 1983 to more than one cent per penny, the US government experimented with aluminum and steel, finally deciding on Copper-plated Zinc)
Zinc can be easily melted down in your backyard using nothing more than a steel cupcake pan, a few pennies, and a propane torch. all this usually costs 20 bucks and some cents. 5 for the cupcake pan, 15 for the torch and fuel kit from sears, and some pennies. although it takes a while, you can make virtually anything out of it using the process of lost wax casting. you simply get some paraffin wax, heat it up, mash it into the shape you want, with a lead coming off of it, put it in some plaster of paris with the lead sticking out a bit, melt the wax out, pour the metal in, break off the plaster and you have a sculpture!
Aside from being an essential nutrient (first sign of zinc deficiency: your sense of smell goes), zinc is very widely used as an anti-corrosion plating for things make of iron. Contrary to popular belief, zinc plated objects are not intended or expected to last indefinitely. Zinc also oxidizes, just more slowly than iron, and the lifetime of a zinc plated ("galvanized") item is determined by how thick the zinc plating is.