Have you ever wondered how beautiful shell buttons were once made? To be perfectly honest, I hadn't really ever thought about it before. However, I was wandering around a small but extremely interesting museum over the weekend and stumbled on this fascinating contraption:
This is how real mother of pearl buttons were made prior to being made in high-tech modern factories. Made in smaller batches, the shells themselves had to be soaked in water for at least a week, then were cut into "blanks." Button holes were added later.
In the photo above, you can see the variety of shells used and how they were cut. Button makers used every last bit of the precious shell they could, getting as many button blanks out of each shell possible. Here are some button blanks on a work table (love that worn wooden surface):
Here are some of the various tools used too:
A fascinating piece of history for all button lovers!