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 Etui Chatelaine Sewing Thread Thimble Gold Gilt Case / Holder - Gm N29Antique Silver Filigree Mandolin Thimble Holder * English * Circa 1840Antiquec1850-1890 Mauchlineware Mcdonald Tartanware Superb Thimble CaseVintage Sterling Silver Limited Edition Tulip Thimble By Helmut Greif * 1994Early Antique Sterling Silver Thimble W/ Cherubs & Heart * English * Circa 1690 Three 19th C Antique Tartan Ware Sewing Thimble Cases All Signed #19 NrVintage Sterling Silver Molly Pitcher 1976 Bicentennial Sewing Thimble J S & SAntique American Or Continental Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Purple Glass TopAntique Palais Royal Mother Of Pearl Thimble * French * Circa 1840Simon Brothers "a Stitch In Time Saves Nine" Sterling Silver Thimble Antique Blackberry Band Sterling Silver Thimble * English * Hallmarked 1901Antique Sterling Silver Brighton Chain Pier Thimble * Circa 1850Antique Complete 5 Piece Sewing Etui C1910 Scissors, Needle Case Thimble BodkinAntique Sterling Silver French Sewing Thimble Engraved Bird Crane SceneSterling Silver Thimble Holder & Thimble, RaphaVintage 9 Ct Gold Queen Elizabeth Ii Coronation Coach Thimble * Hallmarked 1952Group Of 5 Vintage Sterling Silver Thimbles Inc Charles Horner & James FentonHand Crafted Sterling Silver Thimble, Forget-me-nots, Birmingham 2014Lot Of 3 Antique Vintage Old Sterling Silver Thimbles Charles Horner Very Rare Early Antique Iraqi Islamic Solid Silver & Niello Thimble C1910Collectable Victorian Style Thimble Embossed Flower 925 Sterling Silver Sewing Sterling Thimble 925 Blue Enamel Unsual Old Northeast Indian Ash & Sweetgrass Notions Basket W/ California TagAntique Sterling Silver French Sewing Thimble Royal Shield Lions Mother Girl1910 Beautiful 14k Gold Simons Brothers Antique Thimble Excellent Condition #10Vintage Stone Topped Silver Thimble * Scandinavian * Mid 20th CenturyVintage English Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Skilled Hands Independence 1977Antique Sterling Silver Continental Sewing Thimble Engraved Band DesignAntique Sterling Silver French Sewing Thimble Pigeons LandscapeAntique French Silver Cased Sewing Etui Thimble & Scissors Circa 1900Absolutely Stunning Wedgwood 22ct Gold Thimble With The Founder Josiah WedgwoodVintage Gem Set Band Solid Silver Thimble * Germany * Circa 1920Germany Sterling Silver Thimble With Lucky Cloves & Horseshoes & With Red Stone Rare Antique Thimble 14k & Sterling W/original Case Victorian 1870sHand Crafted Sterling Silver Thimble, Alien Road Map, Birmingham 2014 Decorative Thimble Lot Of 58 *royal Family*wood*delft*ashley*japan*souvinerLimoges France Handpainted ThimbleLot Of ThimblesAntique 14k Sewing Thimble Size 8Nicholas Gish "ballerina Thimble", Pewter, SignedLimoges Set Of Four Thimbles And Trinket Box- Limited EditionVintage Porcelain Thimble Collection, Limoges, Spode, Wedgwood, Minton, B & GVintage/antique Thimble & Advertising Needle Books Huge Sewing Lot!Sterling Silver Thimble - Isle Of ManGorgeous 14k Gold Thimble "mother To Elsie" *c.1922Vintage 1992 Daniel Riccio Brass Toucan Thimble Great Detail! Signed & DatedSet Of 25 Franklin Thimbles Of The Worlds Greatest Porcelain House In Dome CwcAntique Sterling Silver French Sewing Thimble Elaborate Engraved BandAntique American Or Continental Sterling Silver Sewing Thimble Fleur De Lis Antique Sterling Silver Ketchum & Mcdougal Sewing Thimble Heavily EngravedAntique Sterling Silver German Sewing Thimble 3 Tier Ball BandAntique Sterling Silver German Sewing Thimble Floral Enamel BandHandpainted Germany Thimble Pink RosesVintage Lot Of 6 1995 Coca-cola Porcelain/ceramic/bone China Thimbles-nrAntique 14k Sewing Thimble Size 7 Engraved Desert SceneLot Of About 100 Antique Thimbles Brass Silver Colored Blue Red Green Yellow TipAntique Stern Bros. Sterling Silver Thimble Size 8, Monogrammed Vtg Pewter Thimble Miss Liberty Statue Of Liberty,ny~nicholas Gish~nice ~mintyIrish Dresden Thimbles (4)Rare Sterling Silver 'dora' Thimble, Birmingham 2014