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 MakeMinePink.com's Christmas in July. Very easy to sign up and easy to get in to win. Let us know if you sign up!