At first blush, a thimble would appear to have little prospect of being anything more than a functional object designed to make hand stitching an easier, and safer, activity. Thimbles are small, so they leave scant space for embellishment, and their working end is almost always pocked and pitted. But despite their diminutive size and rather strict limitations, thimbles have been a favorite foil of inventive designers for centuries.

Throughout history, thimbles have been made out of mother of pearl, sterling and plated silver, brass, bone, and even gold. There are porcelain thimbles, wooden thimbles, and thimbles made from carved stone. Some thimbles feature delicate filigree work around their sides, others doubled as holders for tiny perfume bottles and so-called sewing toys.

Among the most legendary are the Fabergé thimbles from the 19th century. Some of these had polished agates or other types of semi-precious stones set in their tops. The sides of others were decorated with colorful enamel patterns or bands.

In addition to thimbles, sewing collectors also look for thimble holders. For example, in the late 19th century, thimbles sold by companies like Sears and Montgomery Ward often came with a holder. Around the same time, Dorcas thimbles from England were sold in handsome little display cases, which are also collectible.

American thimbles were sold in matching, egg-shaped aluminum cases, or cast-iron holders shaped like terriers and other animals. German thimbles rested in holders formed of carved Black Forest hardwoods—birds and bears were popular shapes. There were even thimble holders made from tiny bisque or wooden shoes, as well as equally petite, hand-painted mother of pearl and shell ships, complete with rigging and a loop to hold the thimble.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Thimbleselect of Australia

Thimbleselect of Australia

Sue Gowan's impressive thimbles reference database. Using the left-side navigation, choose 'Learn More About' and s… [read review or visit site]

More About Thimbles

More About Thimbles

The sheer volume of scholarship on display at the innocuously named More About Thimbles is worthy of a museum. Crea… [read review or visit site]

Sewing Machine Collector

Sewing Machine Collector

Geoff and Norma Dickens' reference site on vintage toy sewing machines from the late 1800s. Browse the images alpha… [read review or visit site]

Sensibility Vintage Images

Sensibility Vintage Images

An extensive collection of photos and ephemera illustrating changing fashion styles from 1795 to 1959. Includes por… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Enameled Robin (bird) Sterling Silver Thimble * English *hallmarked 1979Sterling Silver Antique Victorian Size 10 Charles Horner Sewing ThimbleAntique Palais Royal Mother Of Pearl Thimble * Circa 1840Purple Amethyst Stone & Silver Flowers Antique Sewing ThimbleAntique Victorian Beautiful Hand Engraved Floral 14k Yg Sewing Thimble #7 5.2gPorcelain Victorian Antique Thimble Hand Painted In Flowers Pink RosesCharles Horner Edwardian Antique Sterling Silver Size 5 1924 Sewing ThimbleGorgeous Russian Sterling And Enamel Thimble - Excellent Condition C.1927-1958Antique Vegetable Ivory Acorn Case & Matching Child's Thimble * Circa 1870Beautiful Js&s Sterling & White Enamel Thimble W/colorful Butterflies & FlowersCharles Horner Edwardian Antique Sterling Silver Size 5 1923 Sewing Thimble MintHard To Find Kmd Sterling Silver Thimble - Spread-wing Eagle & Stars - C.1890sAntique Carnelian Stone Top Scallop Rim Silver Thimble * Germany * Circa 1890X2 Two Charles Horner Dorcas Sterling Silver Antique Sewing Thimbles Size 5 & 13Vintage Cartier 14k Rose Gold Thimble In Original BoxAntique French Palais Royal Mother Of Pearl Gold Thimble Charles X 1830Antique Coquilla Nut Egg Form Thimble Case / Wax Holder Circa Late 1800sAntique Chester English Sterling Silver Victorian Size 7 Sewing Thimble 1895Antique French Hallmarked Silver Thimble W/ Four Leaf Clover Band * Circa 1900An Unusual Antique 19th Century Very Very Small Childs ThimbleAntique Glass Shoe Thimble Holder & Thimble *c.1830-1901Superb Collection Of 12 Royal Doulton Fine China Thimbles With Stand!Fabulous Sterling Silver Tom Edwards Alaska ThimbleFine 14k Gold Sewing Thimble - Cupid / Cherub - Great Valentine's Day Gift - #8J4731 Ornate Antique *simons Bros* Sterling Silver Sewing ThimbleAntique English Sterling Silver Thimble W/ Feather Band * Hallmarked 1890Antique Solid Silver Old Boxed Sewing Thimble Tool Henry Griffiths Youngs LondonFrench Silver Victorian Thimble Religious Souvenir John Of The Cross MedalAntique Atlantic Cable Sterling Silver Thimble * English * Circa 1870Lot Of 31 Vintage Assorted Sizes Metal Sewing Thimbles W/ Wooden Pw Box Case An Antique Victorian Childs Carved Thimble Seated Liberty Dime Love TokenVintage Lot Thimbles 51 Thimbles Porcelain Wood Plastic Metal AdvertisingAntique Sewing Orfevrerie Lenain Thimble Paris FranceAntique Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble W Cherub Embossed & "l" [ 2 ] 18-19th Century Spanish Colonial Coin Silver Thimbles..8 Grams & 4.5 GramsFelix Morel? Ammonite Thimble.....Huge Lot Of 80 Metal And Plastic Thimbles Crafting Fairy Garden Dyi Collecting5 Vintage Antique Silver Patterned ThimblesAntique Stone Top Sterling Silver ThimbleAntique Silver Acorn Shaped Thimble Holder Antique/ Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Thimble Size 7-monogrammed-grams:5.7Russian Hand Painted Porcelain Thimble - Signed - 4 DancersVintage Silver Thimble W/ Diamond Knurling * Russian Hallmarks * Circa 1927-46Antique 1905 Simons Sterling Silver Cherub Thimble.#10. Nice. Antique Simons Brothers Sterling Silver Cottage/house With Sunrise Thimble Sz 10Antique Coin Silver H. Muhr's Sons Thimble Folk Art Scrolling Leaf Design 1880sLot Of 33 Vintage Thimbles ( Mixed Variety ) 1 Sterling Silver (maybe More)Simons Sterling Silver Thimble - 2002 Tci Convention - Boston MaLot Of 7 Sewing Thimbles Vintage ThimbleVintage Sterling Silver Thimble 4.9 Grams No Reserve!Superb Collection Of 7 Vintage Royal Worcester Fine China Thimbles!Vintage Florenza Miniature Poodle Basket Pincushion Thimble Ring Holder Ormolu figural Thimble Holder With Webster Thimble *c.1800sFine Vtg Mexican Taxco Sterling Silver Turquoise Sewing ThimbleVintage Sterling Silver Thimble (hallmarked & Signed)Bouchet Agate Thimble.....#3 (no Two Bouchet Thimbles The Same)Woodsetton Peep Thimble.....wrnsAustrian Tapestry Thimble.....Austrian Green Stone Top Thimble.....Superb Lot Of 12 Minton Fine China Thimbles - Archive Bicentenary Collection!