Fall 2012 will be the season of the bejeweled button. Not new, not jewelry, per se, but embellishment nonetheless. Louix XIV was known for the dozens of diamond buttons he sported on his silk brocade; his were authentic gemstones, not paste. Queen Victoria began the trend for the use of carved jet buttons for mourning-wear. Even well into the first half of the twentieth century, couture gowns, jackets, and cardigans were closed with buttons that were often set with semi-precious — and sometimes precious — gemstones. Leaded-crystal paste stone buttons were also employed for a bit of fancy faux sparkle. Vintage buttons have become a collectible in their own right. Many have found a second life as jewelry: I own a great pair of early to mid-nineteenth century shell cameo buttons that were repurposed as drop earrings. The telltale sign that they were buttons is that you can see where the original shanks have been removed at the back. I can only imagine the amazing jacket that they adorned.
August 23rd, 2012