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    

Victorian 9ct Gold Thimble, John William Kirwan, Birmingham 1899Thomas Edward Mannox Sterling Silver Blackberry Pattern Thimble, Birmingham 18961920s Sterling Silver Enamel Thimble Size 8Pretty Antique 14 Kt Gold Thimble By Ketcham & Mcdougall * Circa 1890sVintage Enameled Band Gilded Sterling Silver Child's Thimble * Circa 1920sSterling Silver Clad Dreema Thimble In Box * Henry Griffith & Sons * Circa 1920William James Holmes Sterling Silver Thimble, Sycamore Seeds, Chester 1900Antique Child's Sterling Silver Motto Thimble * A Keepsake * Circa 1840Sterling Silver Goldsmith Stern Thimble With Gold Town Landscape Scene BandThimble Glass Dome With 56 ThimblesVictorian Thimble Case With Stanhope Of Market Harborough. C1890-1900.Antique Vintage Lot Of 12 Thimbles Sterling Silver Assorted Sizes MetalsThimble Glass Dome With 39 Thimbles30 Collectors Club Thimbles TccSterling Silver Scissors And Thimble SetAntique Victorian Etched Solid 10k Gold Stamped Sewing Thimble Pendant | Rs30 Collectors Club Thimbles TccSterling Silver Ventor 'spa' Thimble, Henry Griffith & Sons, Birmingham 1931Antique - Vintage - Thimbles - Assorted -14k Gold - Sterling - Brass - AluminumVintage Germany Sewing Kit ~ Purse Size ~ Scissors, Thimble, Thread, Needle Antique .925 Hm Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble #15 Birmingham 191910 Piece Nativity Thimble Set - MintRare Vintage Advertising Tin Brass Sewing Kit Measuring Tape With Brass ThimbleVintage Lot Of 44 Porcelain China Thimbles From United KingdomU.s.a Version Hallmarked Thimble The Worlds Great Porcelain Houses --meissen--Antique Victorian Sewing Lot Brass Egg Needlecase Pin Cushion Thimble Holder1880 Sterling Silver Waite Thresher Thimble Of Folk-art Flower Band Engraved J Vintage Golden Scrolled Sewing Hidden Thimble Sewing Kit Case Holder Bell UniqueWood Thimble Display Case For 100 Thimbles, Sliding CoverFabulous Antique Silver Thimble €A Collection Of 7 Porcelain Flower ThimblesSuperb 1979 Franklin Limited Edition 24-thimble Set - Woodland & Garden BirdsVintage Haviland Limoges Porcelain Sewing Set Pincushion Thimble Needle CaseAntique Unusual Sewing Thimble W/cutter Marked Pat. Pend No. 10Vintage 1950s 14k Yellow Gold Engraved Gift ThimbleAntique 10k Gold Signed #9 Thimble "margaret"Lot 2 Of 100+ Thimbles And Wood Thimble HolderLot 1 Of 100+ Thimbles And Wood Thimble Holder5 Antique Thimbles-sterling Silver-etched-#9,#10-.6 Ozt-nr!Vintage Ornate Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Simons Bros Floral Size 914k Gold Antique Thimble With Turquoise Stones Solid 14k Gold Vtg Ernest Steiner Walnut Gold Toned Sewing Kit Etui W Thimble Travel Kit MosellVintage Lot Of 38 Porcelain China Thimbles From GermanyUllmann Crystal - Glass Thimble - Amber With Gold Overlay Made In W. Germany8 Collectible Pewter Windmill 2" Thimbles - Windmills SpinThimble Pewter Jack-o-lantern Nice!!Vintage Girl In Boat Bronze Thimble Holder With Silver ThimbleLot Of 6 Sterling Silver Thimbles (c Lot-9)Antique Sterling Silver Ketcham & Mcdougall Sz. 8 ThimbleNicholas Gish Whaling Carousel Thimble SignedLot Of 15 Vintage Collectable Thimbles England, Germany, China, UsaVintage Thimble With Leather Box14k Gold Thimble Simons Bros "mother To Elsie" *c.1922Large Lot Vintage Sewing Notions Wooden Spools Griffon Scissors Thimbles Great! Antique Gold Thimble W/ Turquoise EnamelUllmann Crystal - Glass Thimble With Gold Overlay Made In W. GermanyVintage Ornate Design Sterling Silver Thimble #8 GrapesSuperb 24ct Gold Plated Titanic Commemorative + Limited Edition Titanic ThimbleVintage Ornate Sterling Silver Thimble Ketcham & Mcdougall Size 9Sterling Silver Tailor Goldsmith Sten Thimble With Rosette & Diamond Design Band