Button glossary

Button attachments: There are three different types:  button shanks (ideal to “glue” to fabric and to large buttons), metal attachments also called loops adapted to small buttons and fragile material such as mother-of-pearl or to adorn thin and light fabrics and the more classic sew-through type with two or four holes. We also find a few buttons with magnetic fasteners or the classic snaps!

Button: A button is a subtle and ingenious fashion accessory, which is nice to hold and touch, and gives an exclusive style and design to your clothing.

Button Themes: Buttons have an endless variety of themes as long as you are captivated by the creativity of these bold and multi-faceted fashion accessories: haute-couture and fashion buttons, jewelry buttons, children's buttons, connected buttons or libertine ones! Perennial favorites also include flower buttons, animal buttons...

Buttonhole: A buttonhole is a slit in a garment for fastening a button. There are a large variety of buttonholes but the most common are bound and worked. Bound buttonholes have the edges wrapped in fabric (i.e. for coats or suits) while worked buttonholes have the edges finished with stitching.

Button Factory: Button manufacturing is all about making buttons.

Wood Buttons:  There are many different types of wood available, from the simplest to the most noble: boxwood from the Champagne region, Franche-Comté or Jura, cedar and olive trees from the south of France or to the east the oak tree from Turkey and by venturing to other continents and exotic woods: rosewood, Makassar, ebony...Wood along with mother of pearl are some of the most pleasant materials to touch and may be lightly perfumed.

Bakelite Buttons: For a long time it was the star of the buttons of Art Deco fashion designers; Bakelite was the first plastic resin created by man at the end of the 20th century. Bakelite is still sometimes used by well-known Italian button manufacturers because it is easy to sculpt and is easy to dye.

Casein Buttons: Could we say that casein is to milk as gluten is to wheat? It is made from milk powder via chemical reactions. In its natural state it is white before it takes on the color of the dye you prefer; casein withstands well being polished to become a beautiful button.

Celluloid Buttons:  Celluloid is a mix of camphor and nitro-cellulose. The advantage of celluloid is that it is a perfect imitation of not only ivory, coral, jade or marble, but also of glass, horn or wood! Today it is not often used in the manufacturing of buttons.

Ceramic Buttons: Ceramic buttons are made of clay and water and must be glazed or varnished to be non-porous. Such manufacturing is unfortunately rare.

Horn Buttons: The most universal material to make buttons is in my opinion the most noble. Whether it comes from the water buffalo in Japan or cattle from western lands, there are two types of horn: (1) plate of horn which is the largest part of the horn, the lightest in color and slightly translucent, and (2) the tip of the horn, which is even more sought after and dark in color.

Corozo Buttons: Corozo is made from the seeds of the fruit of a coconut tree with large palms found principally in South America and Sudan.The size of corozo buttons is often limited (25mm) as the seed limits the diameter.   The corozo is of a uniform color and remains the star of coats and suits.

Leather Buttons: A universal material, the leather button is very well suited to go with sports clothing, vests, and coats, but also wool garments and Scottish fabrics to name just a few.  Theoretically, all sorts of hides may be used: scaly hides - crocodile, shark, and lizard - supple skin like calfskin, snakeskin or chicken or ray. Finally, the galuchat button, which was named after its creator, JM Galuchat, a master leather artisan of the 18th century.  This beautiful material also makes magnificent buttons.

Galalith Buttons: The galalith is manufactured by the interaction of casein and formaldehyde. The plasticity of this material is remarkable and allows one to transform it with ease. The buttons manufacturers affectionately refer to it as "gala" and the past and present leading button designers in Italy and France have free rein with this material due to its plasticity.

Metal Buttons: What can I say about metal buttons other than there are a plethora of alloys - the most common one being without a doubt Zamac: a mix of Zinc, aluminum, magnesium and sometimes copper.  Of all the metals, I prefer silver, steel although it is heavy, bronze and of course, gold!

Mother-of-pearl, Seashell Buttons: Beautiful to look at and with a smooth sensual finish, mother-of-pearl is the fetish material of buttons. For the most exquisite: mother-of-pearl of Tahiti with its grey-green highlights or mother-of-pearl agoya of Japan, they are unquestionably the most beautiful of all! The star of the mother-of-pearl is also the pearl oyster – the most beautiful of the abalones with an inner layer of iridescent highlights that is named in certain countries: “mère de perle” and in English, mother-of-pearl. Another luminous and clear mother-of-pearl comes from a large shell: the burgau, goldfish or trochas. Such mother-of-pearl comes from the sea of Asia and Australia.  Mother-of-pearl may also be dyed? Personally, I like natural mother-of-pearl and the enormous or small buttons of mother-of-pearl, no half measures!

Bone Buttons: Bone is practical in the sense that it imitates ivory because as it ages it turns yellowish and is polished due to use.  In addition, it is easy to cut/carve? And is a favorite of leading and audacious button designers.

Trimmings Buttons: Braided buttons often means a refined and elegant button and that is true! Much time and work is needed to create beautiful braided buttons.  They are made by interlacing threads, such as threads made of cotton, silk or even hemp.

Buttons with precious or semi-precious stones: No one can achieve the impossible! The most beautiful fashion accessories may be adorned with beautiful stones just like kings and their royal court did in the past.  Buttons with precious or semi-precious stones are generally made to order with a diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire or with more modest jade, onyx, turquoise, aquamarine or even agate!

Polyester Buttons: More commonly called PU by professionals, polyester is more and more frequently produced in Eastern Europe.  By excellence a synthetic material, it may be one of 1000s of colors, may imitate ivory or any other material of buttons.

Porcelain Buttons: In our day, only creative craftspeople use porcelain to make buttons and this is a pity as porcelain buttons are beautiful as long as they are not too big so that they are light enough for your most beautiful outfits. Contrary to popular belief, although porcelain buttons may be fragile you may wash them in the washing machine (cold cycle) by turning your clothes inside out!

Resin Buttons: We will speak in a noble manner of resin to mention that polyester may be dyed and molded to imitate all materials and all forms of a button.

Buttons size: This question is wide in scope! If we state medium in size, then the size of the button is generally 20 to 23mm.

Glass Buttons: Glass buttons or crystal buttons? Molded buttons or blown button. Fewer and fewer buttons are made of glass with the exception of those made in Italy and Austria.

Satsuma Buttons: Among porcelain buttons, the Satsuma is unique and Japanese. Between 28 and 30mm in diameter and thick enough, the Satsuma button is made up of white ivory porcelain with or without cracks.  It is always painted in Japan and has as many different themes as styles.

Rhinestone Buttons: Flattering and very popular, the rhinestone is a very good imitation of a diamond... It finds a home almost everywhere and in almost any state it is for our greatest pleasure.