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    

Antique Casket Thimble Holder & Victorian Silver Thimble, Birmingham 1898 Elegant Antique Solid 15 Ct Gold & Pearls Thimble * English * Circa 1860Georgian Antique Brass Mother Of Pearl Chatelaine Thimble Case Box Fob 1700sVictorian Sterling Silver Châtelaine Thimble Holder & Thimble, London 1881Antique Silver Sewing Set Etui "nogent" Scissors Thimble French Hallmarks C1890James Walker Antique Edwardian 1929 Sterling Silver Chester Sewing ThimbleVictorian 9ct Gold Thimble & Welsh Jeweller's Box No Reserve Norway David Andersen Silver Enamel Thimble VintageNo Reserve Hm 1908 Charles Horner Silver Thimble VintageNo Reserve Silver Hm 1905 Jame Swan Isle Of Man Silver Thimble Vintage AntiqueVintage Us 14k Gold Thimble Intricate & Beautiful Base Band Excellent ConditionAntique Gold Band Sterling Silver Thimble By Stern Bros. * Circa 1890sVintage Porcelain Hand Painted Gilt Sewing Thimble Herend Hungary Antique French Silver Thimble & Box, Alfred Féau, Paris, Ca. 1900Antique Vegetable Ivory Acorn Case & Child's Thimble * Circa 1890No Reserve 14ct Gold American Simons Brothers Thimble Vintage Antique ScrapGorgeous German Guilloche Enameled Thimble *c.1900sFranklin Mint Colonial American Thimble Collection 13 Colonies Sterling Silver Antique Sterling Silver Sunflowers Band Thimble By Untermeyer-robbins * C1890sVintage Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Enamel Fancy Floral BandAntique Sterling Silver Floral Band Thimble By Webster Co * Circa 1900sAntique Brass Stein Thimble Holder & Tape Measure * Austrian * Circa 1900sDeclaration Of Independence Britannia Silver Thimble, Redl / Dennis, London 1984Antique English Stone Top Sterling Silver Thimble * Hallmarked 1887Antique French Silver Thimble & 'souvenir' Thimble Case, Ca 1900Vintage 'marsh Arab' Niello Silver ThimbleNo Reserve C1920 Gold Plated Pin Cushion Thimble Holder Etui Vintage AntiqueEarly Peter Swingler Sterling & Hp Enamel Thimble - George And Martha WashingtonAksel Holmsen Of Norway Sterling Hand Painted Guilloche Enamel ThimbleCollection Of 260 Thimbles - Estate Find - Unsorted As Found1969 Beautiful Hallmarked Sterling Silver .925 Enamel Thimble Js&sMurano Venetian Glass Thimble....Royal Worcester Hand Painted Irises Thimble.....l.taylorJames Fenton Sterling Silver Thimble, Ivy Leaves Border, Birmingham 1887Antique Sterling Silver Thimble Simons Bros #10 Repousse Relief Pansy FlowerAntique Panel Band Sterling Silver Thimble By Simons Brothers * Circa 1890sVenetian Latticino Glass Thimble....Antique Gold Band Sterling Silver Wild Roses Thimble By Kmd * Circa 1900sBouchet Agate Sunflowers Thimble....Vintage Stern Bros. Sterling Silver Sz 7 Lily Of The Valley Thimble - 5.4grFelix Morel Fledgling Red Thimble....Antique Engraved 14 Kt Gold Thimble * American * Circa 1880Vintage German Sterling Silver Thimble, Laurel Leaves, Julius Wengert Antique 14k Gold Thimble, Simons Bros.Antique Gold Band Sterling Silver Thimble By Simons Brothers * Circa 1880sBattle Of Bunker Hill Britannia Silver Thimble, Redl / Dennis, London 1984Vintage German Sterling Silver Thimble, Oak Leaf Rim, Julius WengertBeautiful Hand Painted Traditional Lacquered Russian Wooden Thimble Countryside"american Silver Thimbles" By Gay Ann Rogers * With Price GuideVintage Sterling Silver Thimble Engraved Bunker Hill 1775 #10Vtg H Muhr's Sons Phila. Crown Mark Sterling Silver Thimble W Flower Squiggle #7Vintage Sterling Silver Thimble By J. A Henckels Co. * Mid 20th CenturyVintage Henckels 925 Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Wide Enamel Rose BandAntique Blackberry Sterling Silver Thimble * English * Hallmarked 1899Vintage Antique Silver Thimbles Marked Size 8 And 9 Floral Fruit Design Set Of 2Vintage Henckels 925 Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Enamel Floral Rose Band2 Beautiful Antique French Silver Thimbles W/ Scallop Shell Designs *circa 1900sVintage Sterling Silver Thimble Swan 1988 102 Two Antique Rose Gold Band Thimble Simons Brothers Chased Acanthus Leaves 1890Thimble Collection Miscellaneous Lot With Case