Unusual Buttons of Shell or Mother-of-Pearl

Mother of pearl buttons are beautiful old buttons and
are especially interesting when they have unusual
embellishments or adornments. I’ll share a few with you
today.

Button collecting is a nice hobby because it’s something
you can do—sort and mount your collection on days when
the thermometer is registering in the nineties.    Today I’m
organizing some “shell” or “mother-of-pearl” buttons that
have some kind of additional trim.  Most of the photos have
a background including a green one inch square.  Let that be
your guide to sizes of the buttons.

I’ll start with my “fish-hooks” that look like some in Loic Allio’s
book Boutons on page 167.  The ones in the book were made by
designer  Francois Hugo for Elsa Schiaparelli.  They have slightly
different sizes of hooks, under glass, and have molded self-shanks
of pearl.  A brass rim is the border.

Two mother of pearl buttons with fish hook embellishment ©booksandbuttons

Two mother of pearl buttons with fish hook embellishment ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next are these two wise guys—heavy paint decorates these
old buttons, with not quite the same back (self-shanks) but
probably done at the same time.  Do you know anything
about them?  (Help!)

Two old mother of pearl buttons with painted faces ©booksandbuttons

Two old mother of pearl buttons with painted faces ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

same two buttons in different place--same effect!  ©booksandbuttons

same two buttons in different place–same effect! ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love these old anchor buttons!

three mother of pearl buttons with anchor embellishment ©booksandbuttons

three mother of pearl buttons with anchor embellishment ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two pearl with brass embellishment are nice, too:

shell buttons with sailboat, with clover ©booksandbuttons

shell buttons with sailboat, with clover ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These next three are different: the large one has
unusual striation within the shell, and a large
embedded brass shank, the medium button has
a floral engraving and is a sew-through.  The small
button has sweet little engraved stars and an early
brass loop shank.

three old mother of pearl buttons with designs ©booksandbuttons

three old mother of pearl buttons with designs ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This large button, almost 1 1/2″ in diameter,  has
an early loop shank on a brass base, and —no, it’s
not your eyes———–it once had something
interesting in the middle of it!!  what?  looks like we
can see the base of a flower?

Large shell button with damaged insert  ©booksandbuttons

Large shell button with damaged insert ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, the next three are nothing to get excited about so
go ahead and get a snack if you like . . .
If the one on the right looks blurry, it IS your eyes.  I
wouldn’t have taken a blurry photo!  It’s probably the
newest of any I’ve shown today–simple brass self-shank,
two piece construction.  The one in the middle—the broad
expanse of shell with a brass border has one of those
shanks that looks like they made a slit in the brass in the
back and then lifted it up.  Button on left has a nice strong
loop shank.

three somewhat different shell buttons ©booksandbuttons

three somewhat different shell buttons ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you back?  This final button (always welcome words,
eh?) is a very nice example of a shell button with an Art
Nouveau brass applied design.  It has an old tin back with
self-shank.

Shell button with Art Nouveau design applied in brass ©booksandbuttons

Shell button with Art Nouveau design applied in brass ©booksandbuttons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!

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4 Responses to Unusual Buttons of Shell or Mother-of-Pearl

  1. Buttondeb says:

    You picked a good day to sort through your MOPs–they are so nice and cool to the touch! As always, it’s hard to choose a favorite. They each possess their own special qualities, but your first and last choices are especially special!

  2. FictionFan says:

    I love mother of pearl so I like most of these. The fishhooks and anchors are probably my favourites, though I love those faces! Wouldn’t it be fun to decorate plain mother of pearl buttons with your own painted designs…?

    • booksandbuttons says:

      I’m hoping to find out more about these painted faces
      buttons if I can. Maybe a reader will know about them.

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