Tuesday 7 April 2015

My latest vintage find ... natures beauty!

Sweet dreams and thin walls
mother of pearl he had heard me!
Alice Clayton

My love of mother of pearl is renowned, I often think what and why and the only answer that I can come up with is that in me, somewhere is a magpie!  It must be the shiny silver that runs through its vintage shell.
 When mother of pearl is carved it makes me wonder, in awe, at the patience and workmanship that has gone into making these shell buttons or buckles so beautiful.  Bear in mind, if you will, that the buttons and buckles that I like are often 90 to 100 years old and the tools that were available then meant all hand labour.  Being that they are real shell and the delicate nature of the job in hand and the patience that went into one button or buckle is astonishing!

I have picked up some beauties over the past 6 months, do you remember my button moon?  and there is a seller on Ebay at the moment that has picked up several small boxes of very very rare ones and is selling them one at a time ( although you can order more if you like)  They are in America and I have bought four so far.

My latest purchase is some small mother of pearl buckles and I have a project in mind for them. They are really beautiful.  If you wonder if a mother pearl button is real, then here is the tip.
 Hold it in your hand for 30 seconds or so, if it remains cold it is real and if it goes to hand temperature it is imitation...  This should help you if you are buying face to face.  If you are buying on line then message the person selling and ask the question " when you say vintage, how old is it?"  Then you have it in writing....  You can usually tell.  I bought 2 of the button moon and they are both a little different in feature and colour... this is because they are hand carved and shells by their very nature have different hues, because they are nature of the sea!

Another little tip is you can wash then in very mild warm water with some delicate hand wash.  Do not soak them, wash one at a time and place on a tea towel.  Dry each one thoroughly.  If they have been in a button box for years with other buttons such as bakelite ones and mother of pearl can become dirty and loose its lustre so a little warm delicate bathing is the thing to do....

Anyway I am away now to my stitching and I hope you have enjoyed your little journey through the beauty of mother of pearl.

Happy Stitching!


  1. I love mother of pearl too - thanks for the tip on how to identify real MOP

  2. Thank you Gill I am happy to pass on tips that I feel are useful! ... glad to have you back x