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    

Rare Antique Carved Mother Of Pearl Palais Royal Thimble * Circa 1820Beautiful Victorian Miniature Carved Basket Thimble Case Sewing BoxAntique Victorian Gold Thimble With Presentation Case, 1888 Rare James Fenton Sterling Silver Thimble, Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee, 1897Antique French Silver Thimble, Leaves Border, Paris, Ca. 1900Huge Lot Of 430 + Unsearched Thimbles .estate Sale Birds Flowers Sterling StateVintage Sterling Silver Sewing Thimbles Lot Lot 5 Antique Sterling Silver Sewing Thimbles English & American As-found -norsvAntique 17th Century Sterling Silver Thimble * English * Circa 1660-80Antique Solid 14k Gold Thimble W/ Scenic Band * American * Circa 1890Beautiful Antique Style Sterling Silver Thimble CaseVintage Hallmarked Solid Silver Bright Cut James Fenton Thimble C1922!Antique Sterling Silver Crystal Palace Child's Thimble * Fab Condition * C1860Antique Vegetable Ivory Case W/ Sterling Silver Child's Thimble * Hlmkd 1903Victorian Style Floral Pattern Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 2014Gorgeous Simons Thimble 14k Gold Of A Railroad Track Through A Town Scene. Antique Registered English Sterling Silver Thimble * 1916 Hallmarks2 Antique English Sterling Silver Child's / Doll Thimble * Circa 1800-1907Cornish Enamels Thimbles - Aurora BorealisVintage Stone Top Sterling Silver Thimble By Lutz & Weiss * Mid 20th CenturyAntique Sterling Silver Thimble 830 Orange Glass Top TopAntique Charles Horner Sterling Silver Thimble & Box, Chester 1913Nice Ornate Hand Engraved Antique Sterling Silver Thimble Sewing Edwardian 11mayfair Jeannie Croton Collection ThimblesGoldsmith, Stern & Co Sterling Silver Thimble - Horseshoes & Four Leaf CloversSplendid Antique Sterling Silver Clad Dreema Thimble * Circa 1910Scottish Mauchline Tartanware Torpedo Shaped Thimble & Thread Holder CaledoniaGoldsmith, Stern & Co Sterling Silver Thimble - Cupid SpecialDetailed Decorative Sterling Silver .925 Sewing Thimble - Owl Scroll Design 16gPair Wedgwood Jasper Christmas Thimbles C1984 Presentation Box- BeautifulDetailed Decorative Sterling Silver .925 Sewing Thimble - Owl Scroll Design 16gLot Of 120+ Thimbles (30+ Are Thimble Collectors Club Thimbles ((tcc)) )Antique Sewing Box~unused Leather Case Etui.~original Thimble~mother Pearl ToolsSterling Silver & 14k Thimble *c. 1900sFelix Morel Thimble Red LilyArta Austrian Enamel Thimble CupidCharles Horner Dorcas Thimble & Little Dorcas Thimble C1900sGoldsmith, Stern & Co Sterling Silver Thimble - Landscape C1900sLot Of 8 Vintage Unusual Thimbles - SilverRed Top Germany ThimbleVictorian Style Diamonds In Circles Sterling Silver Thimble, Birmingham 2013Antique Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble No.10 Stern Co. Good Used ConditionAntique Victorian Needle Holder/ Pin Cushion W/ Sterling Or Coin Silver ThimbleLot Of 100+ Vintage Sewing Thimbles Metal Bakelite Porcelain Plastic Masonic Sterling Silver Thimble By Waite, Thresher - Folk Art Flowers & Leaves C1880s 24 Collectors Club Tcc Collection ThimblesEngraved Bone Rose ThimbleThimble Lot Of 67 W/ Bag - Pewter, Ceramic, Christmas, Lady Figurines, Etc.Silver Hallmarked Chester 1909 Thimble Advertising Story Journal - Childs Size?Antique 10k Gold Thimble *c.1890sLot Of 24 Enesco Thimbles - NewAntique Victorian "mkd" Sterling Silver & 14k Gold Band Thimble 7 Piece Lot Victorian Silver, Sterling?? Thimbles, Please See DescriptionVintage Mkd Sterling Silver 14k Inscribed Thimble Size 8 21 Collectors Club Tcc Collection ThimblesSterling Silver Thimble By H. Muhr's Sons - Folk Art Birds Lot # 3 Vintage Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble ~ Inside Has Shield With An "s" 12 Metal Collection ThimblesAntique Vintage Sterling Silver .925 Leafy Sewing Thimble Collectible 4.7gVintage Carved Bone Hinged Top Swiss Chalet Or Oriental House Thimble Box Holder