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Silver Thimbles

Thimbles can be a "Work of Art" and may silver thimbles fall into category with carvings of birds, animals, people and landscapes.  The etchings on silver can be both fine and intricate and frequently are.  Many antique silver thimbles are family heirlooms that have been in the families for many generations.


The concept of a thimble originated during the time period of the Roman Empire. Since bronze was the most abundant metal of the Roman Empire, most thimbles were not made of silver. In China other materials were being developed for thimbles such as metals, glass, and wood. Fine china was also used to make thimbles. In Europe and in the 19th century when silver became more prevalent, because the metal is very malleable thimbles could be made more decorative and quicker.

There was however a very big problem with silver thimbles that was solved by the engineer Charles Horner. The needles used for sewing were made of steel and could easily go right through the thimbles. Horner decided that the easiest way to make durable silver thimbles was to line the inside of the thimble and sometimes the outside of the thimble with steel.

Collectors are always looking for these legendary steel lined silver thimbles and are often sold under the name of Dorcas. The silver thimbles to this day are quite the collectors’ items and there are many sites online to purchase old and new thimbles from. A simple search on Google for “Silver Thimbles” will reveal an idea of the number of silver thimble collectors shops and individual purchasers.

 The price for silver thimbles will range from $30 - $90 and often depends on the intricacies and the country of origin for the thimbles. English silver thimbles tend to be plain and often have fewer scenes etched on them. Silver thimbles from Germany are often the most expensive and usually contain color and very intricate scenes that are hand carved.  Silver thimbles made by a famous company called Simons are very popular and tend to be middle priced at around $45. Personally I have a sweet spot for German silver thimbles because of their colored swans and flowers around the bottom of the thimble.

In conclusion I want to stress the most important part of thimble purchasing and research. Price of the thimble does necessary equate to a quality and appreciation. As any collector will tell you, price is what you pay but value is what you get. You may love English silver thimbles which are less expensive but this does not make you less of a collector. Focus on what you enjoy and do not focus too much on what is popular in collector circles. Remember, even if you are buying and selling collectibles you have to love the item in your possession because it is very possible that the thimbles do not sell. Most importantly clean and store the thimbles in a non-oxidizing environment so that the silver and still linings do not tarnish as rapidly. Another important point to keep in mind is the history surrounding the thimble. Like any collectors item, when you buy them you become an owner of a part of history. In olden times these thimbles were on the hands of women weaving the threads of a culture. The thimble manufactures were often artists and the pieces of artwork they created were worn on the fingers of some of the greatest seamstresses in American and European history.