From Mildred’s Button Box to Earrings

by Laurel Schwartz.
(San Diego California)

From Mildred's Button Box to Earrings by Laurel Schwartz  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

African Sun Earrings

A few years ago I inherited my mother-in-law, Mildred’s button box containing buttons going back to the 1930’s – and buttons from her mother as well, going back even further.

Then I attended a few button shows and bought some more vintage buttons.

Buttons are now a regular part of my jewelry making habits.

From Mildred's Button Box to Earrings by Laurel Schwartz  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Purple Pagoda Earrings

Besides buttons, some of my earrings have glass and semi-precious stone beads.

Dangles are usually part of the design, either buttons or beads; I like to have something that swings as I move.

From Mildred's Button Box to Earrings by Laurel Schwartz  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Speckled Disc Earrings

I look for odd beads, leftovers or pieces that someone has used and loved before. They create a connection to past generations that’s really important for me.

These women hoped to reuse the buttons they cut off their discarded clothing.

From Mildred's Button Box to Earrings by Laurel Schwartz  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Purple Moon Earrings

Little did they know that it would take over seventy years for the buttons to be used again and they would probably be surprised to find them decorating someone’s ear lobes.

Laurel Schwartz
Laurel Schwartz

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  • Laurel, what a wonderful way to preserve these vintage buttons, and to let them be seen by new generations. The ladies who originally collected and used these buttons would be delighted to see your work, and that their buttons are still being used in the 21st Century! 🙂

  • Thank you, Rena, for posting my photos and story and for your comments. I enjoy receiving your newsletter and seeing other people’s work.

  • Patti Pojer says:

    Laurel, I so remember my own family button box! Your jewelry is so creative and really lovely, absolutely gorgeous pieces????

  • Patti Pojer says:

    PS: Love your website!!

  • Hello Laurel,
    I love what you have done with the buttons. Your creation using those vintage buttons are beautiful, KUDOS!
    Speckled…is my fav 🙂

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