This bracelet represents the end of an era in our studio. Corda Walker, who designed the best of our limited edition button bracelets for almost thirty years, is retiring. The bracelets in this release will be your last chance to own a piece of her magic.
This design is centered by a piece of citrine goldstone glass topped with a tiny cut steel button. You'll also discover an antique perfume button. Perfumes are some of our most popular antique buttons, named for the fact that Victorian-era women dabbed their favorite scent onto these tiny talismans and stitched them under their lovers' collars as a constant reminder of their love.
However, from a collector's perspective, the most remarkable button in this bracelet is a small lithographed button depicting King Louis XVI of France as a young man.
An innovative Victorian-era printing process called chromolithography rose in popularity between 1840 and the early 20th century.
It involved a skilled lithographic artist creating a series of unique limestone plates, each depicting a different aspect of an image. Sometimes as many as fifteen plates were used to create a single image resulting in unprecedented depth and luminescence. Victorians were dazzled by this process, so it's not surprising that chromolithographs found their way onto buttons.
Chromolithograph buttons were commonly sealed with a thin sheet of protective celluloid.
Read more: Celluloid, When Plastic was Fantastic, Buttonology Blog.
Chromolithograph buttons most commonly depicted aristocrats and royals in Louis XVI's pre-revolutionary court. An era of sentimentality about pre-revolutionary society swept France in the late 19th century fostering romanticized and forgiving views of the executed king and queen. Hence the idealized portrait of the doomed King Louis XVI in this extraordinary button.
In this piece, from the chain end:
- Tiny brass ball button, circa 1880-1890
- Victorian-era perfume button with chocolate velvet and tinted brass overlay, circa 1870-1890
- Victorian lithograph of a young Louis XVI under clear celluloid, circa 1880-1900
- Antique amber glass cufflink with small brass and cut steel button, circa 1890
- Painted brass openwork button with cut steel center, circa 1880-1890
- Antique button with raised brass square with a cut-out celluloid background and brass rim, circa 1880-1900
- Four brass-plated pewter settings made in the USA
- Antiqued brass chain
- Length is 6” to 8”
Shop Collection: Limited Edition