Amy’s Blog

Three Tips to Identify Pearl Buttons!

My travels Up North offered me a chance to experience the beauty in nature on a daily basis.  Surrounded by it on the river, paddle boarding or kayaking, I love to explore the river’s treasures above and below the surface. I found one of the most beautiful of nature’s creations, a shell of a mussel a near perfect specimen. Check out the beautiful nacre, pronounced “knacker”, the opalescence coating that covers the interior shell of a mussel or oyster. Literally billions of these shells were made into buttons, mined from rivers throughout the Midwest, the heighth of production was the early 1900’s and Muscatine, Iowa was the hub of the industry. Learn more about the town and it’s Pearl Button Museum in this post.

Variety of Buttons
Oyster Shell Open
Oyster Shell on Kayak
Here’s a fun photo of my niece and nephew exploring the river with me! 
Family swimming

Identifying Buttons

Here are my three tips for identifying pearl buttons versus the look alike plastic versions:

Pearl vs Plastic button
  • Look at the back of the button if there is evidence of the shell or inconsistent coloring this is likely a pearl button plastics are much more consistent in their color and texture.
  • If a button is cool to touch at room temperature it is likely a pearl button. I like to press the button against my face to confirm the temperature.
  • Use a magnifying glass to observe the button coloration and surface texture. Real pearl buttons are each one of a kind. 
I also tried dropping a pearl and a plastic in water to see if the pearl sank faster than the plastic my results were a bit inconsistent.
Leaf button
In my Facebook live last Friday, I explained more about the pearl buttons and comparing them to plastics. I also shared some wonderful embroidery that I acquired on my travels earlier this summer in Michigan. Watch the replay below if you missed it! 
I found this darling gingham sunsuit at CJ’s shop True North in Charlevoix. Of course, the pearl buttons first attracted me to the child’s sunsuit, then I realized this was gingham fabric (a teeny, tiny check), another textile I collect, AND it had this darling bunny applique, needless to say, I had to bring it back home with me! I will share it in my upcoming Facebook Live that will be focused appliqué! Join my Facebook Group to watch and learn!

Looking for some fun embroidery ideas?

How about this Storybook Stitches collection. I shared the pillowcase design in last week’s Facebook Live event.

Storybook Stitches: Child’s Play eBook

This is an instant JPG Download. This is a high-resolution (300 dpi) digital download image of a girl floating on a raft. The image is available to you as an instant download in .jpg format that you can save to your computer and print unlimited times.

$12.99

Summertime Art

As promised, I added this fun image to my shop! Hoping you have a raft o’ fun enjoying nature this summer like I am!

Raft O’ Fun

This is an instant JPG Download. This is a high-resolution (300 dpi) digital download image of a girl floating on a raft. The image is available to you as an instant download in .jpg format that you can save to your computer and print unlimited times.

$4.99

2 Comments

  1. TerriW

    I remember spending summer vacation on Lake Charlevoix in my aunt and uncle’s cabins on the beach. Thank you for sparking these wonderful memories!

    Reply
    • Amy Barickman

      How fun!! You are so welcome Terri. This year I my family was invited out on a friend’s boat on Lake Charlevoix. What a treat- such a beautiful lake! I feel so fortunate to have wonderful memories of my summers Up North too.

      Reply

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