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  • Place of origin:

    Malta (made)

  • Date:

    1775-1798 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver sheet with applied and open filigree

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case CA4

Men throughout Europe wore silver buttons with their traditional costume in the 19th century. Silver filigree buttons had been synonymous with rural dress since at least the 16th century. 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.

Conical toggle buttons like these were worn by men, on jackets and waistcoats. They are now considered typical of Malta, but in the late 18th and early 19th century may have been worn in southern Italy as well. This button has Maltese marks from the end of the 18th century. It was bought for four shillings (for seven) at the International Exhibition, London, 1872.

Physical description

Conical silver toggle button, with oval link, and wire bar crossed over in the centre to form the loop. The button is made of sheet silver, decorated on the front with a rosette of applied wire, with a small filigree rosette at the top. There is a band of open twisted wire between the body of the button and its front.

Place of Origin

Malta (made)


1775-1798 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silver sheet with applied and open filigree

Marks and inscriptions

'R' with crown above in shaped frame.
Mark for 917 standard silver, Malta, 1775-1798.
On crossover of bar.

Partial mark of 'GO'.
Mark of unidentified maker.
On joint of link.


Length: 60 mm whole, Width: 44 mm bar, Diameter: 20 mm button, length: 37 mm button

Descriptive line

Man's conical silver toggle button, Malta, 1775-1798.

Production Note

Worn by men on their jackets






Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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