The Mississippi River plays a lead role in many American legends, including the mother-of-pearl button craze in the early 20th century. Our studio is a hop, skip, and jump from this mighty river, so we feel an affinity for the buttons carved from her mussels and clams.
The vintage pearl buttons featured in these earrings were hand-carved from Mississippi River mussel shells by the American Pearl Button Company, which operated between 1908 and 1964.
Hundreds of pounds of buttons were warehoused and forgotten when they closed their doors. A decade ago, the original owner's great-grandson reached out to us and asked if we wanted to buy the remaining stock. Of course, our answer was a resounding yes.
Most of the precious buttons in this unexpected bounty were white mother-of-pearl, but a few were dyed a deep kelly green. The lovely buttons we used in these lucky earrings were from that limited group.