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    

Antique Georgian Worcester Porcelain Thimble & Case Miniature Tea Caddy Box BirdAntique Late Victorian Carved Coquilla Nut Needle Case & Thimble Holder TreenAntique Mauchline Ware Thimble Case/pincushion * Sterling Silver Thimble *c1890sAntique 1883 Solid Yellow Gold Thimble Sewing Victorian Bird Notion Vintage OldAntique Dorcas Thimble In Original Box * By Charles Horner * Circa 1910Antique Sterling Silver 1905 Cherub Cupid Thimble Victorian Sewing Notion VtgSterling Silver Thimble - Enamel Birds And Stone TopAntique Simons Bros. Thimble C. 1890's Sterling Silver Washington Dc #10 Na 677Antique Sterling Silver Thimble Mes .99 Start Nr VintageAntique Child's Sterling Silver Motto Thimble * Forget Me Not * Circa 1840 Silver Thimble David Andersen Norway Enamel Blue Waves White Dots C1910 Assorted Vintage Thimbles, 1 Sterling, 2 GermanRare Antique Ketchum & Mcdougal Sterling Silver Thimble With AngelsAntique Sewing Thimble Holder Figural Mother Of Pearl Brass Ship Palais Royale?Antique Sterling Silver Daisy Pattern Charles Horner? Chester England .99startnrAntique Engraved 14 Kt Gold Thimble * American * Circa 1890sRoyal Palais France Thimble - Mother-of-pearl, Gilt Metal Bands - 19th Century2 Antique Sterling Silver Child's Thimbles * One By Webster Co * Circa 1890-1900Vintage Old Gold Plated Sewing Thimble Case With 2 Old Brass ThimblesVintage Heavy Sterling Silver Engraved Thimble Bunny Rabbits And Flowers Circa 1900 Top Quality Ladies Boxed Crochet And Sewing Set ThimbleLot Of Seven Antique Sterling Silver Enamel Gemstone Sewing Notion ThimblesSterling Silver Thimble With Orange Stone Number 8Nicholas Gish Pewter Babysitter Barbie Thimble Simons Brothers Sterling Silver Thimble Limited Edition From Thimble ShowLot Of 5 Vintage Metal Pewter Santa Thimbles Downs, Gish, Enamel Antique Sterling Silver Circa 1900s Thimble Star Of David Judaica .99 Start Nr2 Vintage Stone Topped Sterling Silver Thimbles * Scandinavian * Mid 20th C*rare* Nicholas Gish Pewter Sea Life Thimble Vintage Sterling Silver Gabler Thimble * Mid 20th CenturyThimble Waite Thresher Sterling Silver 9 Star Bell Marked2 Antique Engraved Sterling Silver Thimbles * Circa 1880sRoyal Worcester Thimble - 19th Century - Hand Painted Bird, UnmarkedThimble Vintage Sterling Silver Germany Enamel W/stars & Tellow Stone Top BeautyThimble Metropolitan Museum Of ArtFine Simons Sterling Thimble W/ Cherubs & Floral Swag Band Sz 5 Patented 1905Antique Genuine 14k Yellow Solid Gold Vintage Thimble 4.87 GramsAntique Victorian Compact Brass Chatelaine Thimble Case Holder Egg Sock DarnerA Fine Antique Rosewood Egg Shaped Thimble/needle Case C1900/30Vintage Thimbles Lot(12) Hurley Porcelain,monthly Edition Collection36 Vintage Sewing Thimbles Collection Lot, Sterling, Plastic,china, Metal,signedAntique 10k Gold Thimble Stern Brothers Anchor Mark No MonogramGorgeous Sterling Silver Thimble With Swirl Designed Band And Beaded RimRoyal Worcester Relief Thimble.....blind EarlVintage Sewing Kit Gold Tone Walnut Including Thimble- Black/white Thread-patinaNicholas Gish Pewter Birds Thimble Irish Dresden Thimble.....Austrian Hunting Scene Thimble.....Antique 935 Silver Thimble Etui Case & Thread Spool Holder 16.7g Sz 2 1/4" W 284Vintage 14k Solid Yellow Gold Size 8 Thimble Pendant Hallmarked | Rs LxWood Thimble Display Case For 100 Thimbles, Sliding Cover12 Days Of Christmas Thimbles, Enesco, Vintage Sri LankaVintage Foreign Silver Enameled Thimbles (set Of Six)Pewter Hand Painted Thimble....robins In Snow SceneVintage Sewing Needle Holder Thimble And Thread Purse Very Old Vintage Sterling Thimble, Size 10, Must See, No Reserve!Vintage 1919 Solid Silver Henry Griffith & Sons Thimble Vintage Belding-corticelli Travel Size Sewing Kit 1940's-scissors & ThimbleCat Thimble B S Schmid Kitty Cucumber Porcelain Set FourLot Of 30 Thimbles With Two Display Cases