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.


The Quest for Stuart Crystal Jewelry

England’s Most Enigmatic Jewels

I’m still on the quest to create a Wikipedia page for Stuart Crystals, one of the most enigmatic forms of mourning jewelry from the late 17th and very early 18th centuries. I have not succeeded in getting the page up to Wikipedia standards (you can read more about that struggle here), but I have found many beautiful and unusual examples of Stuart Crystals to admire!

(A very dour-looking) Portrait of Charles I in a Ring, 17th-18th Century

Stuart Crystal Ring, circa 1685-1705

Stuart Crystal Slide (converted to a pin), circa 1702

Stuart Crystal Mourning Slide, early 18th century

Stuart Crystal Mourning Buckle, circa 1686

Stuart Crystal Mourning Buckle, circa 1728

Stuart Crystal Mary II Memorial Slide, circa 1694

Lover’s Crystal, circa 1700

Stuart Crystals started off as protest/mourning jewels after the execution of King Charles I (of the House of Stuart) in 1649. By the end of the 17th century, the little rock crystal (quartz) jewelry had become a popular form of memorial, mourning, and love token jewelry. The style continued until about 1735 when tastes shifted to other styles of mourning jewelry.

If you want to help create a better Wikipedia page for these important artifacts, please click here!