This choker-style necklace is made of vintage mother-of-pearl buckles linked together with copper jump rings and glass beads. I made it in 1997 or ’98 as a sample for shows but I wore it almost constantly for a year.
I also sold a lot of buckle chokers.
That was the year I purchased $22,000 dollars of vintage buckles and buttons from a Elliot Silverstein in Manhattan. He was closing a hundred-year-old family business to retire. His pearl buttons had been made in factories in New Jersey but plastic buttons and the closing of the NYC garment factories had shut him down too.
I bought boxes and boxes of buckles, pearl infant shirt buttons and the teeniest pearl lingerie buttons from the 1920’s.
The infant shirt buttons came packaged in boxes of 5,000 buttons. Creamy old cardboard stamped on one end with the name and address of the Brooklyn box manufacturer. The other end had very tidy old handwriting “5,000 pearl, 8 ligne”
Sometimes I wish I still had some of those boxes.
(a ligne is 1/40th of an inch and is how buttons are measured. Most men’s dress shirt buttons are 25-30 ligne)