My Pearl Button Adventure!

Gus, the clammer statue on Mississippi river
Photo of Gus that was inspiration for the Mississippi Harvest Statue

“Meet “Gus”! This is the Mississippi Harvest statue that sits on the banks of the Mississippi in Muscatine, Iowa. Gus is standing in a small boat with a pair of large tongs and mussels at his feet. Muscatine is known as the Pearl Button Capitol of the World. Why? It was the center of the “Gold Rush of the Midwest.” 1.5 billion buttons were produced here annually in the late 18th and early 19th century from shells mined from the Mississippi. I have always loved pearl buttons and they have been featured in many projects I developed over the years at the pattern company I founded, Indygo Junction. Prym Consumer USA acquired Indygo Junction a little over a year ago and now I have the time to devote to researching and sharing vintage notions! Why not start with one of the most plentiful and undoubtedly the most beautiful, the pearl button!


Vintage Dress with Pearl Buttons
Button pendant jewelry
My journey took me to the National Pearl Button Museum. Photos showcase a vintage dress with a variety of button embellishments. This beautiful jewelry created by Ann Moody of Annsarts was for sale in the gift shop! I have more of Ann’s wonderful work to share in a future post.
shells showing button blanks cut out
buckles made from shells
These are examples of some of the displays in the museum. The case shows various types of shells that were harvested for blanks to be polished and carved for buttons. The samples of buckles and novelties were just one of many gorgeous displays on the museum floor. The museum is closed due to Covid-19 at the moment. When it re-opens I will email my newsletter List to let you know, so be sure to sign-up here to stay up-to-date on details. I highly recommend a visit to this museum and the wonderful historic town of Muscatine!! I will be sharing more of my adventures in upcoming posts.
Pearl Buttons
This is just the beginning of my plans to share vintage notions with you! Details are coming soon! Join me in the  journey that started with my book Vintage Notions! Please sign-up for my newsletter and also join my Vintage Made Modern Facebook Group to follow along with fellow fabric arts enthusiasts as I inspire you with my collection and share the rich history of handmade!

Are you ready to create?

Check out this blog post with ideas for making jewelry and cards with Pearl Buttons!

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