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About Buttons

The now humble and utilitarian button has had a long and colourful history.

From Grandma’s treasure chest to social change, status and forms of art the button has had many faces.

Uses: Here is a little inspiration…use as clasps, charms, centre pieces in your jewellery designs, embellishments on bags, clothing and coat and decorative canvas.

Materials: Clay, porcelain, metals, glass, horn, nuts, and plastics.

I have had tonnes of creative fun using my grandmothers’ stash of buttons from her button jar. I made a strung multi strand cuff using my Great Grandmothers French Jet button and modern Czech fire polished crystals, embellished a crafted embroidered and embellished dress and made long necklaces with stacked buttons and buckle pendant.

Advice: Start collecting buttons now. Vintage or modern. Whatever takes your fancy!

You will be amazed at how many ways you can use buttons: as clasps, charms, centre pieces, embellishments on bags and decorative canvas.

Whatever you fancy in buttons and embellishments – vintage or contemporary, chances are you will discover it at Etelage.

Moulded Glass Buttons (Czech)

Etelage values the contribution of the Bohemian artisans of last century. The history and heritage of the master glass artists and metal workers is almost gone. At Etelage we are endeavouring to continue to give you the pleasure of adornment by offering reproductions of many styles from this period. Old moulds, all handmade by metal engravers are used today with new glass to create gorgeous reproduction buttons, some of which are hand painted using various colours and finishes including iris, AB and silver and gold.  The glass maker usies the molds by attaching it to a pair of pliers, which is then bolted to the workbench next to the furnace. The artist then hand presses each button by hand, one at a time to create unique pieces of art. After the buttons have been pressed and cleaned, they are painted or washed then baked to keep the finish from peeling off. Each finish gives a different look to the same button.

Some buttons have a metal shank attached to the back, and some are molded with a glass shank. The metal shanks are an older design, invented many years before the single mold of glass with the shank included was made.

Use as centerpieces in a multi beaded choker, as a  clasp, or even a hair accessory.

Most of the beads and buttons are newly manufactured in factories by custom order, but occasionally vintage beads and buttons are purchased when found in basements or attics of former makers.

Eco Friendly Nut Buttons (South America)

Deep in the Amazon Rainforest grows the Ivory Palm which produces an extraordinary fruit, the Tagua Nut. Using these rainforest seeds to create buttons provides an additional economic incentive to save the tropical jungles from deforestation. These buttons are your ultimate eco and sustainable style go to.

Enjoy this product knowing that its purchase supports the employment of the native community. The income received from the Tagua crop is a strong incentive to maintain the trees. This helps stabilise the rainforest & ultimately the world environments.

Button Sizes

Buttons are measured in lignes (also called lins and abbreviated to L)

  • 40 lignes 11/2 ‘ or 38mm
  • 18 lignes 12mm standard mans shirt button
  • 32 l ignes  20.32mm typical button for suit jackets

Use as centerpieces in a multi beaded choker, create an eclectic bracelet, use as a clasp, or even a hair accessory and jazz up a winter coat.

Most of the beads and buttons are newly manufactured in factories by custom order, but occasionally vintage beads and buttons are purchased when found in basements or attics of former makers in the Czech Republic and Germany.

Inspo: How to Use Your Button Collection

Charm Bracelets It heralds your entrance before you are seen, it’s chunky and trinkety, eclectic & twee and you absolutely love wearing it – in fact you are charmed!

The charm bracelet is a great way to use all your collected beads & treasures… from hand made Czech & Venetian glass; semi precious; & diamantes; Greek decals & Chinese cloisonne enamel to Grandmas old diamante buttons, 1950’s Swarovski crystal & trinkets.
So why not take a simple white T with jeans & team with a chunky eclectic charm bracelet to move from boring to bold?
Vintage…use filigrees, pearls, cameos, lockets Eastern…   use jade, cinnabar, cloisonné enamel, lucky coins & dragon flies. African…..use batik bone, horn, ceramics, wood, shell.

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