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Antique Sewing Thimble

Summary: Read what you need to know about antique sewing thimbles. You get a brief history of thimbles and when and where they originated. The article clearly explains what materials thimbles are made of as well as what some of the designs they can be found with.


Thimbles date back to 202B.C. in China during the Han Dynasty. Back then thimbles were made of bone, wood, leather and even glass. Thimbles evolved onto more than just a sewing tool to protect your fingers to artistic statements of the time. People encrusted thimbles with precious stone and constructed them out of precious and semi-precious metals. They are today great collector pieces.

You can find antique thimbles in many shapes, designs and colors. Some have very intricate patterns on them. For instance, if you are a revolutionary period history buff, you can find thimbles with our founding father’s pictures and names on them. Metal antique thimbles can be either plain or with flowers painted or hand carved into the metal. Glass thimbles also come in many beautiful colors and patterns.

In London, England clay thimbles are still being made today to replicate the ancient art of baking the clay to make thimbles which can also be hand decorated. Before buying any type of antique, it is best to research the product before purchasing. There are an array of books available as well as several online communities that will help answer any questions specifically on ancient thimbles and sewing accessories. But you may want to check your grandmother’s old sewing kit and see if she held on to any family heirloom sewing thimbles. You can also get them appraised online for free if you wanted to sell them.  

Most thimbles are moderately priced and not much over twenty dollars depending on the material and condition. Also, because antique thimbles come in such a large selection of materials and periods it is best to pick a style that you like best, i.e., metal, glass, wood or clay. Or you may want a specific type of design with only flowers engraved on it. Whatever your fancy, antique thimbles are fun to collect and make great conversation pieces about their origins and designs.