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]

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

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    

X2 Two English Sterling Silver Sewing Thimbles & Symons Jewellers Holder Case Antique Solid 15 Kt Gold Filigree Band Thimble * English * Hallmarked 1910Gorgeous Antique Sterling Silver Thimble * English * Circa 1840David-andersen Norway Blue Guilloche Enamel Sterling Silver Thimble, #2David-andersen Norway Guilloche Enamel Decorated Sterling Silver ThimbleNorway Aksel Holmsen Sterling Sterling Hand Painted Guilloche Enamel ThimbleAntique Sterling Silver Daisies Thimble By Waite, Thresher Co. * Circa 1890sAntique Sewing Sterling Silver Simmos Carol Winandy Design Clowns Thimble .Antique Hand Painted Porcelain Thimble Shoe * Sterling Silver Child's ThimbleFrench 18k Gold Thimble Superb Cond Blank Cartouche Unusual DesignMop Mother Of Pearl Pin Cushion & 5 Cotton Spools Thimbles Etc Sewing CollectionJames Fenton 9k Gold English Thimble Excellent Condition High Relief DesignAntique Sterling Silver Flower Band Thimble By Waite, Thresher Co. * Circa 1900Antique Exclusive Sterling Silver French Angles,stars,heart,cross Thimble C1890Antique Sewing Sterling Silver Simons Carol Winandy Design Cats & Yarn Thimble .Finely Made Vintage Sterling Silver Reticulated Thimble - Hallmarked 925Enamel Thimble Over Sterling Pheasant By Peter Swingler 1977Lot Of 24 Vtg Bouchet Original Agateware Thimble Collection 22kt Gold W/ StandAntique Sewing Sterling Silver Ketcham Mcdougall Blossom Design Thimble .Antique Victorian Lot Of (9) 14k & 10k Solid Gold Thimbles 34.6 Grams Not ScrapAntique Sterling Silver Landscape Thimble By Ketcham & Mcdougall * Circa 1880s10k Size 8 Vintage Engraved Thimble, 3.2 GramsSigned Enamel Sterling Thimble Marked Ag Gem TopSterling Thimble With Cherubs And BannerNo Reserve Swann Thimbles Hm 1995 Silver Thimble Vintage Antique Charles Horner Dorcas Thimble Early Floral Dogwood Pattern On Band Pat 5Lot Of 2 X Vintage/ Art Deco Thimble Compendium / Sewing Etui Circa 1930Victorian Jw Benson Gilt Lined White Metal Thimble & Leather HolderAntique Sewing Sterling Silver Ketcham Mcdougall Acanthus Design Sz 9 Thimble .Vintage Birmingham Sterling Silver Thimble Floral Antique Sewing Thimble Needle Case Braided Band -hubbard Collection2 Antique English Sterling Thimbles James Swann & Whw Wm Weston? ChesterAntique Sterling Drape Thimble Size 9 ~rose~No Reserve Swann Thimbles Hm 1993 St Christopher Silver Thimble Vintage No Reser James Swann & Son Charles & Di Marriage Hm 1981 Silver Thimble Vintage Sterling Silver French Sewing Set / Antique Thimble Scissors Needle Case BoxAntique German Sterling Silver Thimble Floral Rose Enamel Moonstone TopSterling Silver California Thimble - SimmonsAntique English Sterling Silver Thimble With Green Agate Top James Swann & SonsAntique Sewing Sterling Silver Simmos Size 10 Paneled Thimble .Antique American Sterling Thimble Lucky Horseshoes Goldsmith Stern No Reserve James Swann & Son Hm 1989 Silver Thimble Vintage Lot Of 2 X Art Deco Thimble Compendium / Sewing Etui Circa 1930Antique Vintage Gold Plated Thimble - Dragon ScrollworkAntique German Sterling Silver Thimble Zig Zag Design Band & Green Glass TopNo Reserve Swann Thimbles Hm 1991 Silver Thimble Vintage 1995 Pewter Coca Cola Bottle ThimbleNo Reserve James Swann & Son Hm 1987 Silver Thimble Vintage Lot Of 24 Metal ThimblesOriginal Meissen Thimble With Box - MintAntique Sterling Silver 3 Pc.sewing Kit With Heart Case Thimble And Etui (vr)Antique Stern & Co. Sterling Silver With Gold Band Size 8 Chased Thimble Antique Vintage Sterling Thimble ~ Star Marking Size 9Antique Mint Green Enamel Guilloche Thimble With Emerald Green Stone Top .925 Wonderful Vintage Antique Lots Of Sewing Items- Silver Thimble Strawberry EmeryAntique Vintage Victorian Thimble Bobbin Spool Holder & Pin Cushion 2" Ronald Reagan Porcelain Thimble, Staffordshire, EnglandNo Reserve Swann Thimbles Hm 1989 Silver Thimble Vintage No Reserve W H Manton Hm 1986 Silver Thimble Vintage Lot Of 2 X Art Deco Thimble Compendium / Sewing Etui Circa 1930