Frequently Asked Questions
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have.
Our studio is located in a restored historic bank building in the tiny town of St. Francisville, Louisiana. A retail store and button museum occupy the first floor and our jewelry production studio is on the second.
We design and hand assemble over 30,000 pieces of jewelry a year in our studio. Our business is an economic mainstay of our tiny community and our team members, many of whom have been with us for decades,are like family.
We seldom have time to do this but will consider it in special instances if you are able to meet with our lead designer in our St. Francisville studio.
Typically, we start designing after Christmas by appraising what our customers loved or didn’t the year before. Then we get to work readying ourselves to release new lines in early summer. However, we may release new designs anytime a strong creative urge or a special button find inspires us.
Although antique buttons have survived a century, they remain a wee bit fragile. It is important to note that cut steel and stainless steel are not the same thing. Cut steel will tarnish if it gets wet. The best way to clean your jewelry is to delicately wipe it with a soft cloth.
Most of our jewelry includes at least one antique stamped brass, cut steel or pewter button that was manufactured between 1880 and 1918. We also use several kinds of vintage glass buttons, most of which were manufactured in Europe between 1920 and 1960.
In the weird and wonderful world of button collecting, we consider buttons that are more than a century old to be antique and the ones that are over forty years old as vintage.
The fastest way to determine if a button is antique is to examine the back. If it has a looped or twisted wire shank embedded into the button, it’s very likely an antique. Vintage or new buttons more often have a shank molded or stamped into the back of the button.
Almost every antique button is a one and only and so the one on your piece of jewelry will not be identical to the one in the images on our website product pages. Our studio team hand assembles every piece of jewelry we sell, and when doing so they choose what they think is the ideal button for that piece. So, we cannot guarantee it will be exactly the same as the product page, but we do promise it will be lovely.
With the antique buttons (cut steel, pewter, and brass) you will not know exactly which button will be on your jewelry because they are one of a kind. That is part of the fun! However, the antique button on your jewelry will be similar in design, size and color as what is portrayed on our website.
The vintage glass buttons featured in our jewelry designs will match what you see on the website product images because we often can purchase these pieces in batches. When we run out of vintage glass pieces, we update the website with new images.
You can return your jewelry piece and we will find a button you adore, replace it and ship it back to you. It’s important to us that you are in love with every piece of Grandmother’s Buttons jewelry in your collection. Note that you will have to pay for the associated shipping expenses.
Our motto at Grandmother’s Buttons is to honor the button, so we developed settings that enable us to attach antique buttons to jewelry pieces without damaging their shanks. This process is unique to us. We created it to protect the value of the antique buttons which will continue to grow over the years as long as the shank remains intact.
We use a special jewelry adhesive.
The small Victorian buttons, which are the mainstay of our designs, come from collectors whom we’ve known for decades. We likely have over five thousand unique designs of Victoria-era brass, steel, or glass buttons in our studio collection.
We also go button hunting every year. Our founder, Susan Davis, scours the forgotten corners of this earth for antique buttons and vintage glass. She climbs into grimy abandoned lofts and bargains with flea market vendors. She spends hours upon hours in dusty warehouses, sorting through long-forgotten attics, and rummaging through thrift store shelves.
Like all good fisherfolk, she has her favorite honey holes and knows that certain deadstock warehouses and flea markets are more likely to unearth the best treasures. These jackpots are throughout the country in areas as diverse as California, New York, Texas, and Rhode Island.
We feature only the best of the best of our button finds in our limited-edition jewelry pieces. In other words, only the rarest, most beautiful and valuable items in our collection are used in our limited-edition designs.
Wherever the buttons come from, one truism for all of them is there aren’t very many of them. Usually, there is only one. Sometimes we find a special set of buttons, and therefore can produce multiples, but even then, the most we can make is two to six pieces.
So our limited-edition designs are indeed genuinely limited in the true sense of that word. In fact, chances are your limited edition purchase will be the only one of its kind in the world.
The short answer is no. We are not in the button selling business because we like to save all our best finds for our jewelry. However, we sell a few century-old buttons we have culled in our St. Francisville flagship retail store. We keep them in an old tin that customers can sort through - just like they did with their grandmother’s button box.
The delicate bits and pieces we use in our jewelry are not meant to get wet, especially the antique buttons. Note cut steel is different from stainless steel and will discolor if it gets wet.
For us, everything starts with the button hunt. Every year, we scour the forgotten corners of this earth for antique buttons and vintage glass. We then 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.
We like to say that we assemble our jewelry like a jigsaw puzzle and that the pieces are the secret sauce.