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 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 ThimbleDrama Comedy And Tragedy Masks Double Sided Thimble 925 SilverVintage Thimble Holder Case #32 Antique Sterling Silver Thimbles By Simons Bros.* Circa 1900sVintage Thimble Holder Case #1Antique Sterling Silver Chevron Panel Band Thimble By Waite, Thresher * C1900sJames Swann & Son Sterling Silver Blackpool Thimble & Case, Birmingham 1924Vintage Exquisite 1920's Dutch Silver Finger Guard ThimbleAntique Dorcas Thimble In Original Box * By Charles Horner * Circa 1910Sterling Silver Thimble, Scottish Thistles, Birmingham 2015 Rare Vtg Hagop Nativity Scene Sterling Silver Jerusalem Israel Thimble Htf Nr!Huge Lot Of 210+ Vintage Estate Souvenir Sewing Thimbles Collection W/ DisplaysVintage Thimble Holder Case #2Antique Webster Sterling Thimble Salem Witch 1692. Sewing, Needle, Thimble Thimble Collectors Club Lot #1 - #69! Original Boxes!Large Lot Of 140+ China ThimblesSterling Silver Thimble, Yorkshire Rose, Birmingham 2015 Vintage English Sterling Silver Thimble By Stephen J. Rose * Hallmarked 1969Sterling Silver Thimble, Cabbage Roses Antique / Vintage "made In England 8" Decorated Sterling Silver Sewing ThimbleRoyal Worcester Vintage China Thimble - Fruit Hand Painted By D.lowe (90)Philip Campbell Sterling Silver Thimble, Andrew & Sarah Wedding, Edinburgh 1986Vintage Silver Victorian Edwardian 1900's Sewing Thimble Lot Of 2 ThimblesVintage 14k Solid Gold Thimble Size 6 Simmons? Sewing Rare Us Mail Box Pewter Thimble Signed Nicholas Gish With Bird NestUnique Vintage Gold Thimble W/ Sewing Kit Compact LikeSterling Silver Thimble, Forget-me-nots, Birmingham 2015Antique Simon Bros Sterling Silver Curlique Ornate Sewing Thimble 10 Marked Nr!!Quality Heavy Sterling Hallmarked Silver Antique Victorian Thimble & Antique BoxBig Lot Of 38 Vintage Antique Sewing Thimbles Brass Sterling Ornate Fresh Lot(60) Advertising Thimbles. Metal And Plastic, Many Companies Represented.Victorian Style Diamonds In Circles Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 2013 Vintage Gimbels Thimbles Porcelain & Pewter Merry Go Round Themed "think Of Us"Lot 84 Assorted Thimbles Porcelain Metal Wood Glass Clay Pewter VintageThimble Nicholas GishSterling Silver Thimble, Flowers & Scrolls BorderVintage Thimble Lot Of 44 Porcelain & Metal Commemorative Collectible SewingJames Swann & Son Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 1976James Swann & Son Sterling Silver Thimble, Green Agate Crown, Ca. 1930s Sterling Silver Thimble, Needle & Thread / Lord's Prayer, Birmingham 2015 Antique Sterling Silver Paneled Band Thimble By H. Muhr's Sons * Circa 1886Sterling Silver Open Top Thimble, Daisy Pattern, Birmingham 2015Antique Thimble - England - Age Unknown - Brass? - Size 10 9Two Antique Simons Bros. Sterling Silver Thimbles, Cat. Nos. 401 & 51, Ca. 1900Vintage Ketcham And Mcdougall Sterling Silver Thimble Floral Pattern~~size 11Art Nouveau Style Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 2015Antique " Little Dorcas " Thimble - Size 10 15Sterling Silver Thimble Floral Border Simons Brothers Size 10Victorian Style Floral Pattern Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 2014Sterling Silver Thimble Louis Xv Border Ketcham And Mcdougall Size 12Collectible Swarovski Crystal Mouse Thimble Figurine 2"Collection Of Christmas ThimblesAntique Thimble - German - Sterling Silver Size 9 6Unusual Antique Silver Plated Thimble * English * Circa 1900Salt And Pepper Thimbles From Chicago World's Fair 1933Vtg. East 50 Drive In Theatre Bedford, Ind. Adv. Thread Case W/thimble LidPewter Thimble....1952 Old Three PencePair Of Vintage Continental Solid Silver Thimbles