This extraordinary one-of-a-kind necklace features a faceted crystal center nestled in a brass overlay star, with a mottled ivory and brown celluloid background and ornate brass border.
John Wesley Hyatt of New Jersey patented the first semi-synthetic plastic in 1869 while attempting to invent a replacement material for ivory billiard balls. His invention, called celluloid, proved unsuitable for pool tables. However, its innately moldable properties made it a popular choice for various other everyday items, including toys, knitting needles, cutlery handles, collars cuffs, jewelry, and, of course, buttons.
Read more: Celluloid, When Plastic was Fantastic, Buttonology Blog.
Celluloid was produced in paper-thin sheets, sometimes pigmented to imitate rare natural materials such as tortoiseshell, marble, agate, glass, jade, coral, ivory, jet, and pearl. Victorian-era button manufacturers commonly sandwiched the thin celluloid sheets between ornate pierced-brass tops and rimmed brass bottoms with stunning outcomes.
In this piece:
- Victorian-era button with a pierced brass overlay and thin celluoid sheet dyed in an ombre pattern, circa 1880-1900
- Tiny brass star button at end of extender chain, circa 1900
- Brass-plated pewter setting cast today in the USA
- Stamped brass ornamental connector
- Hand-wrapped Czech glass beads
- Antiqued brass chain
- Length is 18” with 4” extender
Shop Collection: Limited Edition