It Starts With The Hunt

It Starts With The Hunt

At Grandmother’s Buttons, we have a unique approach to jewelry design. Most jewelers start with an idea and then procure the elements, like gems or stones, that they need to execute their vision. We do the opposite. We start with the hunt.

We scour the forgotten corners of this earth for antique buttons and vintage glass. We climb into grimy New York City lofts and bargain with flea market dealers. We spend hours in dusty warehouses, sorting through long-forgotten attics, and rummaging through thrift store shelves. Sometimes we find other irresistibly beautiful pieces like antique shoe buckles or tie bars. We're like kids looking for candy and every special find sparks joy.

Susan hunting for buttons in the 1980s

Susan with her finds from a hunting trip in the 1980s.

We bring it all home and stockpile it in our design studio in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Over the years we've amassed a monumental archive of vintage glass, antique buttons, and other bits and pieces. When you climb the stairs to our second-floor studio, you'll find our collection exploding from every surface, nook, crevice, and corner. It's a bonanza or a torment depending on your tolerance for clutter.

Donny, Susan and Anna digging for buttons

Left: Donny and Susan digging through aisles of shelves on the west coast. Right: Anna on the hunt on the east coast.

Then slowly, inspiration strikes, and we incorporate the bits and pieces into our jewelry designs. Or when ideas evade us, we'll comb through our collections until a vision dawns. Some of our favorite designs include pieces that rested in a cabinet or drawer for more than a decade. 

We like to say we piece together a jewelry design like a jigsaw puzzle built from a random box of beautiful historic scraps. The puzzle pieces spark our imagination and are the secret sauce to the timeless originality and intergenerational value of our jewelry designs.