Lucrezia Brooch - Celluloid Limited EditionRegular price $85.00
This pretty brooch showcases a rare and beautiful antique Victorian-era layered button with a paper-thin dyed celluloid with a cut out for a brass and glass underlay and a brass rim.
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 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. Many celluloid buttons, like the one in this brooch, also had cutouts holding brilliant pieces of crystal, glass, or cut steel, adding extra sparkle.
Read more: Celluloid, When Plastic was Fantastic, Buttonology Blog.
In this piece:
- Layered button with brass rim, paper-thin dyed celluloid with a cut out for a brass and glass underlay, circa 1880-1900
- Vintage caesin button, circa 1930
- Pin back with bail so that brooch can be worn as a pendant
- Diameter 1 ½”
Shop Collection: Limited Edition