Button History

~19th Century

Buttons were also embroidered or made with the new technique of mosaics, enamel or beads. Because these gorgeous buttons were expensive they were not commonly used, but they were popular with the wealthier groups of society. In the 1700s, after the experience of extravagant Baroque court era, buttons, especially men's buttons, entered their golden age as a handcraft and many guilds of button craftsmen were established. In the Rococo age, buttons were seen as an elegant status symbol, and many sophisticated examples were made with intaglio or inlay pearl-shells, or decorated with painted ivory. These buttons included those made with superb micro mosaic techniques or with embroidery skills.

In contrast to the style of the Rococo age, practical metal button techniques were developed in England, particularly in Birmingham, mainly for use in the rapidly expanding market of military uniforms. The compressing technique contributed to the making of other types of natural materials buttons at this time. In addition, new materials like Wedgwood or Sevres ceramics, cut steel, and Strass (a form of diamond imitation) were used for button making.

Button Photo

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