In the 1790s, a taste for large, luminescent disks made of exotic materials such as shell or stone superseded the earlier fashion for modest-sized buttons of metal or fabric.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 set of five pink conch shell buttons 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. More


c. 1789-1797



Conch shell, metal


Overall: 1/2 in. x 1 3/8 in. (1.27 cm x 3.51 cm)
Other (central boss): 3/16 in. x 3/16 in. (0.5 cm x 0.5 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph G. Newman, 1984

Object Number



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