In the 1790s, a taste for large, luminescent disks made of exotic materials such as shell or stone superseded the earlier fashion for modest-sized buttons of metal or fabric. Such buttons were employed on fashionable outerwear for women, including great coats and riding habits, as well as men's coats. This pair of conch shell buttons, each with a silver-plated boss and a gilt ten-pointed star at its center, was among a larger set owned by George or Martha Washington. The expensive fasteners were later given to friends and family as relics of the venerable couple.

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Date

c. 1789-1797


Geography


Material/Technique

Conch shell, gold, silver, copper alloy


Dimensions

Overall: 3/8 in. x 1 1/4 in. x 1 1/4 in. (0.97 cm x 3.18 cm x 3.18 cm)


Credit

Purchased with funds donated by R. Keith Kane, 1957


Object Number

W-2080/B


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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