This extraordinary one-of-a-kind necklace features a Victorian button with faceted crystal center nestled in a brass star, surrounded by an ivory celluloid background and ornate brass border. Suspended above this incredible button is a particularly lovely gold-filled Victorian-era cufflink with a black enameled flower.
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, collar cuffs, jewelry, and, of course, buttons.
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.