The Victorians certainly treated their clothing (and buttons) differently than we do!
In the photo to the left are three buttons in different materials. The top one (next to the dime) is made of brass with a design sitting on a card backing. Often buttons were made which were never intended to be washed and, although we would never think of doing so now, if the garment was to be washed, the buttons would be removed and restitched on again after the garment had been laundered. Can you believe that?!
The button at the bottom has a celluloid centre with brass rim. Again, not really a button I would want to wash. These speak of a time when the lady of the house probably had servants to perform these tasks for her … equally a time when clothing was not laundered as often as it would be now.
The third button is brass with a floral design and would have discolored over time so would either have been polished while a garment was laundered or while on the garment using a slide plate protector between the button and the fabric. I complain when I have to sew a button on my clothes!
How to care of your button jewelry
The silver clasp should be cleaned with a silver cloth. This cloth can also be used with cleaning most metal buttons. Don’t use this cloth on the gemstones, or any pearl or shell. All the buttons have been cleaned and restored to the best of my ability, so it’s not really necessary for you to go to great lengths to clean up your button. Maintenance is really all that is needed. Generally speaking, if the button is a material other than metal, use a soft cloth with nothing on it, including water, to maintain it’s beauty. If you store your jewelry in plastic bags, don’t seal it, let the button breath. This means that you may have to give the silver clasp a wipe a bit more often.
My jewelry is easy to care for and you won’t have to spend much time caring/polishing it. I encourage you to wear the piece and enjoy it!