Antique Button Jewelry

The antique/vintage buttons used to make these bracelets, pins, earrings and necklaces range from 50 to 150 years old. Some may be older. Take a close look at the buttons used. The artistry in some is, without question, unsurpassed by today's' standards. Some are elegant, some are funky, but they are all old and remarkable by nature of their design. Every effort will be made to send you the pictured item.  Substitutions may occur if an item is purchased and a new image has not yet been posted.  If this occurs, rest assured that the item you receive will closely resemble the one you ordered, in materials use and design.  If a typewriter key bracelet has a word on it, however, that is the item you will receive.


These buttons are among the oldest, with some pewter, brass, silver (including steel, tin and other alloys), and copper buttons dating as far back as the 1700's. By the 1800's brass button production outstripped the rest . More brass buttons survived the years, as brass does not rust or oxidize as other metals do. Metal 'picture' buttons are extremely ornate and artistic. Scenes from operas, children's' stories, architecture, flowers and wildlife are common themes.
The glass buttons used in the jewelry here range from pre-1900 (old glass) to the 1940's (modern glass). Ornate black glass buttons, cut and etched or molded, as well as tiny colorful 'diminutives' tend to be older than the brightly colored and lustred modern glass buttons. Before 1918, factories in Bohemia (later to become part of Czechoslovakia) were producing buttons for export. By WWII, many of these Jewish factory owners and workers fled 300 miles to a safer area and by 1950, the export of these beautiful buttons to the U.S. began again.
Mother of Pearl and other shell buttons come from deep sea as well as freshwater shells. Once the button is cut from the shell, it is difficult to tell the type of shell from which the button was made. Deep sea shells tend to be more brilliant, and dull less quickly. Many freshwater shells used for buttons (plain shirt buttons mainly) came from U.S. rivers and were made here. Deep sea shells (best for carved designs on buttons) were often from more tropical locales and Europe. Shells have been used for button making for 300 years.
Bakelite, an early synthetic "plastic" was invented in 1909, but not used for buttons until the late 1920's. Bakelite buttons are highly collectible and very expensive. Their colors are warm and deep and easily recognizable.
Celluloid, invented in 1870, another synthetic 'plastic-like' material, appeared in buttons around 1890. By the 1920's, it joined bakelite as the preferred button-making material. Celluloid buttons range from very beautiful to rather homely, but due to its flammability, celluloid was replaced quickly by the first plastics in the 1950's.
Perfume Buttons, in my opinion, have the loveliest story. Made in the mid-1800's, they have an underlay of velvet fabric with a pierced, ornate brass overlay. The perfumes of the Victorian Era were oil based, and when used on the skin, would soil the women's' clothing. These buttons were designed so women could dab their perfume on the velvet of the button, thus, protecting their clothing and carrying the scent for a long time. Keep reading…you will love this. During the Civil War, women would give such a button, scented with their perfume, to a husband or lover going off to war. He would stitch it under his uniform collar as a reminder of the love he left behind.

Antique Button Jewelry ~ Antique Cufflink Jewelry ~ Typewriter Key Jewelry ~ Victorian Postcard Jewelry
Vintage Watch Part Jewelry ~ Merit Pin Jewelry ~ Tintype Jewelry ~ Joan of Arc Jewelry

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a division of  Mountain Laurel Handwork

Owner: Laura Bergeron
74 Gifford Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
(508) 725-7450