The Old French Buttons

As a child I remember the delights of squirrelling through my Grandma’s ‘Button Tin’, which back then seemed to hold a vast collection of brightly coloured buttons, many with beautiful patterns or shapes.

Buttons can be such eye-catching colours & designs


The ‘Button Tin’ seems to be a thing of the past now, but I still find buttons that make me smile, whether due to their colour, or their exquisite patterns and the French Brocante Markets are a great place to look for them.

I can waste many hours just fuddling around the markets in search of new & unusual pieces to work with


At Villeneuve-Les-Avignon, every Saturday morning, there is a lady selling buttons and old textiles and whenever I go I always find myself spending ages sorting through what she has & admiring the different pieces she has available.

The designs on some of these buttons are gorgeous & perfect to be used as texture on silver


For a long time I shied away from buying them as they are not silver & so I would find it difficult to use them in my work. Then I thought about using them to texture Fine Silver so bought a couple to have a play with.

Getting ready to work on silver clay


The buttons worked well as a stamp for the Clay before it is fired to create Fine Silver earrings, effectively recreating the beautiful patterns into the silver.

Small fine silver stud earrings textured with vintage French buttons


I have since gone on to use the same technique with other items I’ve found at the markets in France including tiny Chandelier¬† ‘Marguerites’, which make a fantastic light-catching pattern……..

From Chandelier Daisy to fine silver studs


and vintage charms including a cyclist, which became a tie-pin and also a set of cufflinks……

The tie-pin prior to being finished & polished


I must admit I am really fond of a French Glass button, depicting a Wild Boar on the charge, which has been used to add detail to a tie-pin too……..

The Wild Boar Tie-Pin


It is lovely being able to use the detail in these vintage finds to create new pieces of jewellery that look just a little bit different, with a touch of French style.

A number of the designs are currently available on pieces in my shop and I’m looking forward to getting back to the Markets in the New Year to see what else I can find.



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