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Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 78, shelf D, box 10
Men throughout Europe wore silver buttons with their traditional costume in the 19th century. Although filigree buttons were the most typical, many countries used buttons made of sheet metal as well. Most European cultures disapproved of male jewellery, but buttons allowed men to show off their wealth and status. They wore them in extravagant numbers, on sleeves and trousers as well as jackets and waistcoats.
Buttons were rarely sewn directly on to the clothing. In the north of Europe people fastened them to their costume with a strip of leather, which ran through the button loops inside the garment. In the south, they used T-shaped toggles permanently attached to the button.
This button comes from Salamanca. The men of Salamanca wore large flat buttons, circular or octagonal, in decorative rows on their waistcoats. Some were made of silver, but many, like this one, were made of base metals imitating silver. This button was bought for six shillings (for a set of six) at the International Exhibition, London, 1872.
Flat octagonal button with chased stylised flower on the front. Toggle fitting of oval link and thick wire bar.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Diameter: 2.7 cm, Length: 2.6 cm, Depth: 3.1 cm
Base metal flat octagonal toggle button, Spain, 1860-1870.
Worn by men
Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project; Traditional jewellery (Europe)