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    

Rare Antique Percy's Patent Thimble In Gold * English * Circa 1820Vintage Tiffany Sterling Acorn Thimble Case & Silver Thimble * Hallmarked 1958Antique 15 Ct Gold & Turquoise Thimble * English * Circa 1860Antique,very Early,silver Thimble In,very Old Leather Thimble Box!Unmarked Antique Thimble, Size 10 - Silver, Decorative Border, Drop LipAntique Gabler Scallop Band Silver Thimble * Germany * Circa 1900sSilver Enamel J.swann Hallmarked Thimble.....christmas CandleBeautiful 1892 Antique 14k Gold Christmas Thimble - 5.0 GramsRare Antique South American Silver Child's Thimble W/ Heart * 18th CenturyAntique 14k Gold Thimble Dated Dec 25 1871 Size 8Silver Enamel J.swann Hallmarked Thimble.....holly & MistletoeSterling Silver Thimble, Hallmarked Candian, Flowers Under Enamel 1946 Ex. Cond.Antique 19thc 14k Yellow Gold Size 7 Sewing Thimble14k Gold Thimble With Provenance From The Ruth Mann Collection 1st Pres Of TciVintage King George V & Queen Mary 1935 Silver Jubilee ThimbleStriking Gilt Gabler Damascene Thimble With Flowers And Vines Marked Alpacca925 Eastern Silver Thimble.....Kenya Kissistone Thimble.....Vintage Sterling Silver Thimble By Henry Griffith * Hallmarked 1923Royal Worcester China Flat-topped Thimble - Powell - Bird PaintingIrish Dresden Pink Roses Thimble.....Arta Austrian Enamel Thimble.....rural Wedding PartySterling Classic Fairy Thimble.....poppyHantel Victorian Toy Box Thimble..... Jolly Black Doll...f.wilsonRoyal Worcester Ballet Thimble.....swan LakeRoyal Grafton Tcc Alice In Wonderland Thimble.....no.1Waite, Thresher Sterling Silver Thimble With Fleur-de-lis C.1890sRare Vintage Charles Horner 925 Silver Dorcas Thimble #10 - Very Good No Reserve1920s Bakerlite Shop Advertising Stand For Dorcas Thimbles Holds 12 SizesKaterina Tcc Thimble.....russian RoseLockhart Tcc Thimble.....crinoline LadiesOld Simon Brothers Gold Thimble Size 8 14kt Tested Antique Sewing Collectible Herend Green Shell Band Thimble..... Antique Sterling Silver Thimble Wide Etched Design Marked England 4 GramsGraham Payne Christmas Robin 1981 Thimble..... Signed C.w.Sterling Classic Fairy Thimble.....cornflowerHakutoh Tcc Thimble.....blue FloralFelix Morel Girl Guides Thimble.....Ullmann German Crystal Golden Roses Thimble.....Limoges Castel Rose Thimble.....1930s From Thimble To Gown ~ Sewing Book ~ Design Patterns Techniques 300 IllusJames Swann Hallmarked Silver Band Of Roses Thimble.....Sterling Classic Fairy Thimble.....christmas RoseRoyal Grafton Tcc Alice In Wonderland Thimble.....no.11Royal Grafton Tcc Alice In Wonderland Thimble.....no.14Vintage Sterling Silver & Gold Overlay Engraved Mother Ornate Design ThimbleSterling Silver Thimble Hand Painted Vintage Sewing Machine Sew Lot Of 2Thimble Porcelain Lomonosov Russia "butterflies" Htf Beauty!!Vintage Sterling Silver Thimble With Blue Enamel Decorative Band Made In GermanyRare! Vntg Sewing Chatelaine Thread Thimble Pins Needle Made In Austria Kit 1269Catherine Of Aragon Thimble.....jane SeymourSterling Classic Fairy Thimble.....pansySterling Classic Fairy Thimble.....rowanWedgwood Osborne Thimble.....Royal Grafton Tcc Alice In Wonderland Thimble.....no.2Maria Miniature Thimble.....catherine Of AragonRussian Hand Painted Filigree Thimble.....Royal Grafton Tcc Alice In Wonderland Thimble.....no.3Catherine Of Aragon Thimble.....anne Of CleevesRoyal Grafton Tcc Alice In Wonderland Thimble.....no.4