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    

C1810 Georgian Bovine Cow Bone Thimble No Reserve Vintage AntiqueSilver Victorian Thimble Abbey Ruins No Reserve Vintage AntiqueAntique Sterling Silver Lattice Rococo Thimble By Simons Brothers * Circa 1890sVintage Danish 830 Silver Thimble & Box, Amethyst Crown, V. Aagren Victorian Sterling Silver Forget-me-not Keepsake Thimble2 Antique Sterling Silver Thimbles By Simons Bros.* Circa 1900sDrama Comedy And Tragedy Masks Double Sided Thimble 925 SilverAntique Sterling Silver Chevron Panel Band Thimble By Waite, Thresher * C1900sJames Swann & Son Sterling Silver Blackpool Thimble & Case, Birmingham 1924Antique Dorcas Thimble In Original Box * By Charles Horner * Circa 1910Rare Vtg Hagop Nativity Scene Sterling Silver Jerusalem Israel Thimble Htf Nr!Vintage Exquisite 1920's Dutch Silver Finger Guard ThimbleHuge Lot Of 210+ Vintage Estate Souvenir Sewing Thimbles Collection W/ DisplaysSilver Thimble Hm 1912 No Reserve Vintage AntiqueVintage Thimble Holder Case #1Large Lot Of 140+ China ThimblesSterling Silver Thimble, Scottish Thistles, Birmingham 2015 Antique Webster Sterling Thimble Salem Witch 1692. Sewing, Needle, Thimble Vintage English Sterling Silver Thimble By Stephen J. Rose * Hallmarked 1969Thimble Collectors Club Lot #1 - #69! Original Boxes!Vintage Thimble Holder Case #3Lot Of 160+ Thimbles Vintage Thimble Holder Case #2Antique / Vintage "made In England 8" Decorated Sterling Silver Sewing ThimbleNicholas Gish Easter Bunny ThimbleSterling Silver Thimble, Yorkshire Rose, Birmingham 2015 Castle Shaped Thimble Sterling Silver Birmingham 1988Royal Worcester Vintage China Thimble - Fruit Hand Painted By D.lowe (90)Rare Us Mail Box Pewter Thimble Signed Nicholas Gish With Bird NestNicholas Gish God Loves You ThimblePhilip Campbell Sterling Silver Thimble, Andrew & Sarah Wedding, Edinburgh 1986Vintage Silver Victorian Edwardian 1900's Sewing Thimble Lot Of 2 Thimbles100 Thimbles In A Wood Display BoxVintage 14k Solid Gold Thimble Size 6 Simmons? Sewing Nicholas Gish Unicorn Carousel ThimbleVintage Italy Gold & Silver Tone Acorn Thimble Or Pill HolderBig Lot Of 38 Vintage Antique Sewing Thimbles Brass Sterling Ornate Fresh LotUnique Vintage Gold Thimble W/ Sewing Kit Compact LikeSterling Silver Thimble, Cabbage Roses Nicholas Gish Ferris Wheel ThimbleNovelty Walnut Thimble Holder & Thimble(60) Advertising Thimbles. Metal And Plastic, Many Companies Represented.Sterling Silver Open Top Thimble, Daisy Pattern, Birmingham 2015Antique Sterling Silver Paneled Band Thimble By H. Muhr's Sons * Circa 1886Vintage Austria Gold Tone Floral Embossed Bullet Thimble Sewing Kit KeychainTwo Antique Simons Bros. Sterling Silver Thimbles, Cat. Nos. 401 & 51, Ca. 1900Antique Simon Bros Sterling Silver Curlique Ornate Sewing Thimble 10 Marked Nr!!Sterling Silver Thimble Louis Xv Border Ketcham And Mcdougall Size 12Sterling Silver Thimble, Flowers & Scrolls BorderVintage Thimble Lot Of 44 Porcelain & Metal Commemorative Collectible SewingSuperb Henry Viii & 6 Wives Fine Bone China Thimbles Set - Excellent ConditionVictorian Style Floral Pattern Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 2014Vintage Ketcham And Mcdougall Sterling Silver Thimble Floral Pattern~~size 11Antique Silver Thimble With Turquoise 12Unusual Antique Silver Plated Thimble * English * Circa 1900Stevelyn - Cries Of London Series - Pewter Thimble - New - Knife GrinderVictorian Sterling Silver Thimble #7 Wide Ornate Border 4.8 GramsStevelyn - Cries Of London Series - Pewter Thimble - New - Hot Chestnut SellerAntique Vintage Sterling Silver Thimble Size 10, Floral Decoration, CollectibleCollection Of Christmas Thimbles