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Elements of a filigree button

Elements of a filigree button

  • Place of origin:

    Altes Land (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1880 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver filigree

  • Museum number:

    160 to R-1883

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 69, shelf A, box 8 []

From its earliest years, the 1850s, the V&A set out to acquire traditional (then called peasant) jewellery as an example for British craftsmen. This display was bought (for £1 8s 4d) in 1883 to show the different stages of construction for a German filigree button from the Altes Land. Filigree was not a traditional craft in Britain, although it was so common a technique in European traditional jewellery that it was considered synonymous with it. In particular, people from almost every region in Europe wore filigree buttons.

The buttons in this display come from the Altes Land, and would have been worn in a set of 12. They were worn by women, six on each cuff, and were the most expensive type of button.

Each button consists of 233 different elements. It starts with a framework of plain wire, made into two rosettes, for the front and back. These are then filled and decorated with twisted and coiled wire of various kinds, and 63 granules. The finished button is then cleaned and polished ready for wear.

Physical description

Collection of 21 groups of silver filigree elements showing the making of a filigree button.

Place of Origin

Altes Land (made)


ca. 1880 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silver filigree

Descriptive line

Silver filigree elements illustrating the making of a button, Altes Land (North Germany), 19th century.

Production Note

Worn by women






Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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