Saturday, June 12, 2010

What a find!

I have to confess that I have a large fascination with carved Mother of Pearl buttons. I bet you know the feeling about little obsessions. They inspire us to collect things that we find important. It was not a surprise to anyone here at the RBCottage that I would find a way to share my admiration for these little iridescent orbs.

After a little research, I found that these wonderful little pieces of history have a very interesting history that led me to Iowa. Iowa? (Yes, really!) Did you know that there is a Pearl Button Museum in Muscatine, Iowa? This small town harvested freshwater mollusk shells from the Mississippi after a German button maker, John Frederick Boepple immigrated to the area. The button factory opened in 1891 and by the end of the 19th century, the area produced 1.5 billion (with a B!) buttons. Of course, later the plastic button, depletion of the mussel beds, and environmental pollution of the Industrial Age, led to the decline of production of these beautiful pieces.

Thankfully, many of these buttons have survived for over 100 years. And the carving on some are phenomenal. In the first pic, you will see my finds from The Roseberry Cottage. The other pictures are from antique stores, ebay, and sweet customers that send me little bits and pieces. The next to the last picture has a bracelet we finished not too long ago.

Needless to say, our collection of these beauties is quite extensive and growing. I have been thinking that it is time for me to do a necklace. I actually want to do two different button necklaces: one that has buttons all the way around and another that has chain on a little less that half of it. There is also this really neat button (last picture) that will make a beautiful design for a bracelet. Something with a double strand of freshwater pearls coming from each side. Stay tuned. I can't wait to get them done to share them with you and see what you think.

Oh, I almost forgot one of the most important things about this post...You can win one of our a Sterling Antique Mother of Pearl bracelets at the's Christmas in July. Very easy to sign up and easy to get in to win. Let us know if you sign up!


  1. Gorgeous finds Kim! I bought a huge lot from Roseberry Cottage the same night that you did. They are gorgeous. I am s thrilled with my find. Mine are just in an antique atlas jar.. yours make gorgeous jewelry.

  2. Kim, those are beautiful! I can't wait to see what lovely things you incorporate them into.

    Olivia Paige

  3. I'm such a button fan! They are perfect in every way. I did not know that bit of history and am glad that you shared it.

    That new bracelet is breathtaking.

    Hope your enjoying the weekend.

  4. Button, button, who's got the button? Why you do Miss Kim! What a find! Perfect for you and your creativity. Oooh lala!
    The Polka Dot Rose

  5. Wow what I find and they are beautiful. Loved the history on them. Thanks for sharing. I know we will get tons of people to our Chirstmas in July promotion as we have tons of great gifts to win hugs sassy gail

  6. Oh you are the one that got the white buttons all of us was after. ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY. I love buttons and expecially if they are white. I love white anything. I am slowly turning my house into one white thing after another. Thanks for the history about them. Kath'

  7. Lovely buttons Kim! I have a few jars full and it is the best feeling when you stumble upon some of those little treasures.

    Warm regards,

  8. Hi Kim,
    I love the buttons. I look forward to seeing what you create.

  9. Hi Kim,, I love mother of pearl buttons. I got a small bag when we went to Horsefeathers last year and havent been able to part with them yet. lol I love the bracelet in this post. Its just gorgeous.
    I hope you are doing well. I miss talking with you. I will call you soon. My new job is great. An answered prayer for sure.
    Happy creating,, (()) gail

  10. Beautiful buttons and wonderfully informative post. I love that bracelet, too, and cannot wait to see the necklace!
    Mary Patterson

  11. Your newfound stash is just beautiful! So you're the one who got those! Sheesh, between you and Joyce I didn't stand a chance, lol. The bracelet is gorgeous, can't wait to see your other designs.
    Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

  12. What a find, pearly buttons are so pretty and a find like that reminds me of my Grand mother's sewing box. Love the bracelet

  13. Hi Kim,
    Your buttons are so pretty! I love the bracelets you make out of them, and I can't wait to see the necklaces! Hope you have a nice week!

    Shabby Shan's Cottage

  14. Oh my goodness! Gorgeous work! I love buttons and what a great idea to make such beautiful jewelry! Thanks for sharing!


  15. Hi Kim!

    How are you doing? I just had to say hello. Its been too long since I visited you. I looove those buttons. And your jewelry is to die for. I love your creations. So glad I stopped by. Have a great weekend.
    Janet's Creative Pillows

  16. Hi Kim!

    I just wanted to thank you for stopping by my cat blog and leaving a comment. It's always great to hear from you. I sure hope all is well with you and your family. Have a great weekend,