Monday, March 26, 2012

Antique Buttons and Featured

When I was a young girl my Grandma gave me her prized
antique button collection.
Many are over 100 years old.
I mounted them into a lace backed frame and reside in my bedroom
sharing space with my beaded vintage purses.

My favorites are these tiny little hand panted ladies. I think they might be Marie?
They only measure about 3/8 of an inch and appear to be real gold.

Others are tiny mosic's, some enamel's, some look like black diamonds.
I'd love to know more about these if anyone has any informaton?
I've done searches,
 looked through antique button books and checked the internet.
No such luck!

More available in my etsy shop
Heres another use for vintage MOP buttons. As the centers of my butterfly.
In Sweet Easter Peat Pots.

A rusty tin for a spring bird  Easter nest.
With a fabric transfer stitched onto burlap.

I would like to give
knick of Time Interiors A shout out for Featuring me this week.
Thank you Angie. Its an honor to be included.
Stop on by and see all the Beautiful things at


sjmcdowell said...

Hi Lynn,

The black diamonds as you refer to them look like marcasite to me, I have never seen them that large though..very unique!
The one button on the bottom right looks like an old pin that I have that I bought in's very old!!
You have some stunning pieces and what a wonderful way to display them. You are fortunate to have these wonderful items passed down to you from your grandmother!! What a treasure!!

Hugs and Smiles,


Terry said...

Lynn, what a treasure and beautiful way to display your Grandma's buttons! I was actually drooling, well you know what I mean! Beautiful and big congratulations! Thank you so much for the really cool and fun card! Love you, GF!

Diane said...

I once had a button value book when I had my antique shop, maybe I could help you more. I think these painted buttons are very valuable. You're so lucky to have them and for them to be keepsakes. Love your little Easter baskets. Blessings, Diane

bobbie said...

What a wonderful treasure trove from your Grandmother!! And the way you have displayed them is so sweet ~ I'll bet she's smiling!!

peggy aplSEEDS said...

these are beautiful buttons! lucky you to have your grandma's buttons!

Betsy said...

You're so lucky to have your Grandmother's beautiful buttons. What a beautiful way to display them so you can enjoy them every day.

Cheryl said...

oh wow Hun those buttons,are just amazing how beautiful,some really stunning pieces you have there hun and to have it mounted like that just looks amazing what a beautiful treasure to have Hun,just love,the card you have made too hun just such beautiful work you always produce hugs Cherylxx

Jo said...

OMG Lynn! those buttons are to die for! and that little perfume bottle is just exquisite! What beautiful treasures you have, thanks for sharing them with us!

Kikka said...

Hi Lynn!
That Antique Button Collection is So Wonderful...In fact it brought tears in my eyes! I Love the story about Your Grandmother...

When I was a child I used to spend lot`s of time with my Grandparents. On rainy days it was so wonderful to have a look at my Granmother`s was like a treasurebox.

Daniele said...

what a lovely way to be reminded of your Grandma, such a beautiful collection of buttons.....priceless is the value

craftattack said...

Lovely buttons, they are real treasures. Congrats on being featured! Valerie

misteejay said...

What a perfect mount for all those beautiful buttons. I would also think the 'black diamonds' are marcasite - it was so very popular in jewellery and clothing ornamentation.

Your Easter creations are fab - such little cuties.

Toni xx

Angela said...

Your buttons are stunning, they would make wonderful brooches.
If only I could find treasures like yours.

kerrykatiecakeskeb43 said...

These buttons are really gorgeous! I love the way you have displayed them.

Kasia said...

BEAUTIFUL stuff!!!! Oh how lucky you are! And all those stupendous creations!!! :D


suziqu's thread works said...

Dear Lynn
What absolute treasures these buttons are and they belong to your grandmother - WOW! Love the way you have displayed these little heirlooms!
Your creative hands never stop and now these dear little easter arrangements - they look fantastic!
Love and hugs,

Dawn said...

These are indeed beautiful buttons and a wonderful idea to display them thus.

Your Easter Baskets are also a treasure to behold, oh to have your talent ;0) I am glad we all benefit from it.

Love Dawn xx

ImagiMeri said...

Oh Lynn, those are just the most gorgeous buttons I've seen in a long time. I absolutely adore old buttons, but only certain types. You definitely have a treasure there, and I'd find an appraiser of such things instead of searching online. Maybe an antiquities dealer or jeweler might help. Thanks for sharing!


Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Wow your antique buttons ate stunning and fabulous keepsakes from your mum, love your Easter creations too and great news being featured, congratulations. Tracy x

Sandy Davis said...

What a beautiful way to showcase the buttons and they are really beautiful buttons. Love your Easter tins with those birds and congrats on the feature!

Candy C said...

Lynne, your work continues to blow me away. I just love your style. Love your buttons and how you've displayed them. I also love your peat pots....those are so dang cute. And your tag on the previous post with the mosaic flowers is beautiful, too!! Everything you do is fantastic. Thanks for the sweet comment you left on my blog as well! I'm staying tuned... :) <3 Candy

artistamyjo said...

What a beautiful and priceless collection.
I know there are button collector clubs,wonder is finding one of those would help.
Lov the little pots.

Maureen said...

What a wonderful way to honour your Grandmother's collection! They are beautiful!

And I love your Easter decorations... too cute!!!

GARAGE SALE GAL ~ Deb's Earthly Delights said...

It's so special that you have those buttons that were your Grandma's. Very cool! The "black" stones are "poor man's diamonds". Can't remember their real name...starts with a M...sorry!

pat said...

Those antique buttons are a real treasure. They are beautiful! I like the way you have mounted them.

Sarah said...

What is it about those little objects that make us so crazy about them...the colors, the shine, the unknown stories they could tell?
I loved going through my grandmother's button jar as a little girl and still enjoy it today (it's mine now).
You are so lucky to have such treasures and to have them displayed so beautifully!

Wax Beach Artist said...

Your little Easter baskets are so cute! I love your grandmother's buttons, how pretty! They look great framed!

Linda R said...

Ohhh.. I just love old buttons. I always think if these buttons could talk and say were they have been. I know I am sounding crazy now!! I love to go to the antique shops and try to find old buttons. Thanks for sharing your with us.

Your creations here look wonderful. I always love seeing what you make.
congrats to you on your featured spot. Very cool my friend..

Blessed Serendipity said...

What a gorgeous collection of buttons. They are really special. I love them framed too.


PetraB said...

What a beautiful and precious button collection. I love the way you display these wonderful treasures. And your little baskets are absolutely delightful. And big congratulations on being featured!

Cath Wilson said...

Wow! What a treasure trove - those buttons are gorgeous and especially the tiny ones - so precious. Love that way of displaying them, too x

Shelly Schmidt said...

What a fabulous button collection- beautiful- look hand painted and the gold edge is fabulous. We had a speaker one time in a sewing guild that made jewelry from Vintage buttons. Love your Easter piece- love the bird!

Jillayne said...

Oh my - they are all gorgeous! What beautiful buttons and what a wonderful gift you received!

artbywendy said...

wonderful buttons! I love the birds nests too!

Suzanne C said...

Stunning artwork! The buttons are fantastic. Lovely design.

Createology said...

Lynn how wonderful to have your Grandmothers vintage buttons. They are so stunning. Have you had them appraised by a knowledgeable antiques expert? I adore how you have displayed them framed and set on lace. How glorious she gave them to you. Beautiful memories...
P.S. Yes it must be a Grandmother kind of day.

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Beautiful collection! And also so meaningful too as an heritage treasure.

lynne said...

I could so relate to this beautiful post. I have buttons I treasure which belonged to my Grandmother and Great Aunt and like your buttons, they are of a great age. Your button display is completely inspirational and maybe it is time I did something similar instead of housing them in a glass dish.
Congratulations on being Featured.
P.S. Your peat pots are simply adorable.

trisha too said...

The buttons are amazing little works of art, Lynn, thank you for sharing them. And a really lovely way to display them, too, instead of having them tucked away out of sight.


Martina2801 said...

Hi Lynn, the buttons are lovely and they are real treasures.
And congratulations on being featured!
Have a nice sunday.
Hugs and wishes

1CardCreator said...

Your buttons are gorgeous!

pchickki said...

What a bunch of neat stuff!
I love the buttons in the frame:)
Nice way to display them for sure.

Belladonna said...

Buttons took my breath away! What a lovely collection gathered by a perfect finder :)

Marva said...

Oh what gorgeous buttons Lynn! Love the turquoise hand painted ones!

Recycled Treasures said...

Hi, I found your blog after searching "how to display antique buttons". I also inherited a button collection, but it was from my grandfather. I have a few books and I also find books at the library. I believe the black stone button is cut steel. So glad I found your blog!

Diane said...

I love the way you have displayed your button collection! So pretty.

I too believe the "black diamonds" could be marcasites - but they might also be tiny cut steels, hard to tell.

The two large silvery ones with the half moons are definitely cut steels. They look to be individually riveted, faceted cut steels.

The ladies appear to be hand painted on porcelain and are they set in metal? Or is the border painted on? If so, it is possibly 18-24K gold paint. Hard to tell without seeing the backs. What a treasure and to have a full set of them is amazing!

The mosaic button is probably antique Italian Venetian Murano Millefiori (micro mosaic).

There are a couple beautiful antique Champleve enamel buttons. I am no expert, but I am learning all the time, so many different types, materials, and processes. All of yours have incredible workmanship and intricate detail!

I collect buttons, and so I would buy huge lots of them, and then after saving some for my collection, I began listing the extras on eBay because they were taking over my house haha. I also make antique button jewelry, and I get creative and try to find ways of using the buttons that won't cause any damage to them and preserve their value. I never use glue on them, unless they arrived to me in damaged condition without their shanks.

Check out my store sometime, you can find it through my Facebook fanpage which is linked to my name :)


Chris Ranschau said...

Just saw your display of buttons on Pinterest at They are lovely! Your questions may have already been answered, but wanted to share some info.

Without seeing the backs or close-up details, I believe your buttons all date from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. The faux marcasite buttons are called "cut or faceted steel" by collectors. The set of small diamond shapes appear to be "diminutives", if they measure 3/8 of an inch or smaller. Riveted to pierced stamped brass, they are distinctive because of their size and the size of the set and possibly used for a dress or gloves. The large is also is in this category presuming they are riveted to pierced steel or brass backs, distinctive because of the number of steels and the crescent moon pieces.

The large enamel is called "champleve". The design was stamped or engraved into the metal and filled in with enamel powder and fired. Yours are further embellished by the pierced brass back. According to the Big Book of Buttons (BBB), champleve "is the technique used on most enamel buttons of the 19th century, since the designs could be stamped on brass button blanks by machine and then filled in with enamel by hand."

The two enamel sets are painted enamel, or "emaux peints" on gilt brass, also from the early 19th century. The BBB states, "Painted enamel buttons again became fashionable during the latter part of the 19th century. This time it was the French who produced most of them. The quality of the painting varies enormously; some were probably transfer printed and filled in by hand, but some of the female heads, done primarily in thickly applied colors on a creamy white or rich black to deep blue ground are very lovely. These are called "Limoges" by collectors. Although they are almost certainly French, there is no evidence that they were actually made at Limoges and the term is really descriptive of a type of decoration."

Portraits like your gorgeous set were quite often of particular subjects from history and literature. The BBB lists examples like Marguerite from Faust, the Nut Tree Boy, Miss Muffet, and "Who Will Buy My Lavender?" from the nursery rhymes. Your set most definitely looks like the Art Nouveau style, so they could be Gibson Girls, but I'm speculating. They may also be, as you said, Marie!

The set of larger emaux peints flower bouquets also date to the late 18th to early 19th century. It is my fav because of the turquoise enamel "pierreries" borders. They resemble prong-set jewel cabochons, elevating buttons, normally valued only for their usefulness, to fine art and jewelry.

Setting a value is difficult. I have found that the market can be fickle and button values can change drastically depending on trends and distribution. Book values are guides only. Scarcity matters so, with proper care, value can only go up. Your wonderful buttons are truly a lasting gift from someone who must have adored you and knew you would appreciate the art and the history (yours and the buttons) as much as she did. To display them in your home with the loving care that you used and to imagine who the women in the portraits really were, what a priceless gift!

Thank you so much for posting them, Chris at and

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