Pearl buttons



Most of the mother-of-pearl shells, used by man, are turn into buttons.
(For some time they also used some non-mother-of-pearl shells.) In Italy there is the highest concentration in the mother-of-pearl button
industry. In the Malacological Museum of Cupra Marittima there is an unique exposition of the restructured tradition of the button-making from the beginning of the century to our days. A species used for little and medium size buttons is in most of the cases Trocus niloticus.  The bigger ones, instead, are made from the shells of Pinctata margaritifera, Turbo marmoratus  and Haliotis.  Those made from Haliotis  ("The Ear Shell") are most likely to be the most particular ones with the iridescent reflect of the pearly lining reflecting all the shades of blue and green. The commercial value of these shells is in general the most lowest one. In the museum there are also exposed the prototype buttons made by the most talented and respected button-makers of Torre del Greco: Izzo, Ferrigno, Icardi. These buttons are really pieces of art. There is also presented an old button-making machine from the button factory of Cannara di Busseto.
The machine enables the cutting of plates of wanted diameter which afterwards are turned and polished into splended buttons. The modern plastic buttons have not degrade the appreciation of the unique and unimitable mother-of-pearl buttons.