Find of the Month: Stuart Crystal Breeches Button!!!!!

September 2012

I’m crazy for Stuart Crystals. They’re tiny, old, glittery, sentimental masterpieces: all my favorite characteristics of an object! However, I never dreamed I would ever be able to hold one, much less own one. Besides the fact that they are exceptionally old, they’re fairly scarce since they were only made in England between the 1650s and 1730s. All these factors add up to one well-deserved, but hefty price tag!

Going broke for Baroque!

There was no way I could afford one of these beauties, not without winning the lottery or selling vital organs, or so I told myself.

I was scanning the internet for a set of Victorian button for the Gabby dress when I found this:

OMG! OMG! Was it, maybe? Yes? Could it…?!

It was listed for $40. The seller called it a “18th century rock crystal breeches button” and only listed the dimensions (1/2 inch), but I had to have it. When I bought it, I thought it was empty–no hair, no cypher, no colored foiling. When it arrived, it was scratched, yet underneath you could see that it actually did have a little trefoil cypher inside which you can just barely make it out in the original scan!

Stuart Crystal Breeches Button, circa 1690-1700

Cut Collet Detail

Silver back of the Button

Trefoil Cypher (off-center)

For being over 300 years old, it is in remarkable shape. It has lots of surface scratches and has lost pretty much all of it’s foil color, but I love it–squealing like a giddy school girl– love it!

I am beyond thrilled to own this tiny piece of British history.


9 thoughts on “Find of the Month: Stuart Crystal Breeches Button!!!!!

  1. OMG indeed. Freaking fritters and other gobsmacked amazingness. You brought that little beauty into your life. Isn’t it divine!
    Congratulations! How wonderful! I feel giggly just thinking about it!

  2. What a treasure! Totally meant to be. There is nothing to compare to the rush of touching “real” history, is there? Congrats!!!

  3. Hi:

    I have two buttons, I am sure they are from around the late 17th century but I would like to know if they are sleeve button/breeches buttons. I have seen some referred to as Stuart rock crystal, these has no horse hair or woven fabrics or gold wire. Price for these and a little more information would be greatly appreciated. Can provide photos also.

    1. Hello, Meg! I am not a professional appraiser, just a hobbist, so I cannot provide an appraisal for your buttons/cufflinks. However, I can say that not all rock crystal buttons from the 17th and 18th centuries had things encased beneath them; some were just plain crystal. You can send me some photos through a Facebook message if you like (I always love seeing people’s treasured antique finds), but for prices and a true evaluation, I would recommend finding a jeweler who specializes in antiques or button dealer.

    1. My only experience with selling things is through Etsy and eBay. Both sites have different pros and cons, but there may be other options out there specifically for buttons that I don’t know about.

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