Grandmother's Buttons
Antique Button Jewelry
PO Box 1689
9814 Royal St.
St. Francisville, La.
225-635-4107 / 800-580-6941
225-635-6067 (fax)

Grandmother's Button Bank    
      Grandmother's Buttons, makers of jewelry from antique buttons for more than a decade, literally "bought the bank" in 1994, purchasing this historic Louisiana town's original 1905 bank building. Two years later they opened the renovated first floor as a retail store, featuring a tiny and unique museum of antique buttons in the old bank vault.

      Recently featured in publications such as Victoria, Southern Living, Southern Accents and Country Home, Grandmother's Buttons has been added to St. Francisville's roster of popular tourists attractions. The original bank vault, a space just 10 feet square, holds owner Susan Davis's rarest and most cherished buttons, some of which date from the time of the American and French revolutions.

     Davis began her button jewelry business in 1984 at a local crafts fair. Today, Grandmother's Buttons employees twenty people and sells to 1500 retail outlets around the country, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Signals and J.Jill catalogs, and the Biltmore Estate.

      "I had always dreamed of a retail shop for our jewelry," Davis explains, "but never thought we'd have access to a building as wonderful as this old bank." An imposing, two-story brick structure, the bank, along with the courthouse and Grace Episcopal Church, anchors St. Francisville's historic district. The 16-foot ceilings, original oak woodwork and mosaic tile floor of the lobby make for a dramatic retail environment.

      "Our museum certainly must be one of the smallest in the country," laughs Davis, "but it contains an amazing variety of buttons." A whole case is dedicated to the ornate and finely crafted men's buttons of the 18th century. Five cases display women's 19th century dress buttons, the detailed brass picture buttons, beautifully painted enamels and porcelains, and flamboyant glass jewels that mark the apex of the decorative button in popular fashion.

      Highlights of the museum include an extremely rare George Washington inaugural button, one of a limited number produced for the delegates to our first president's inauguration. Also of note is a set of 18th century men's coat buttons commemorating the French Revolution. Hand-painted on ivory under glass, these buttons are much sought after.

      The store two large cases and five spinning racks filled with the company's jewelry, all of which are created upstairs in the bank's second floor. The majority of pieces are still made with actual 100-year-old buttons, though less expensive items created with replica cuff links and buttons have been added in separate lines. The store's staff regularly travel to gift markets in Atlanta, New York and San Francisco to choose remarkable and whimsical gifts that complement the company's jewelry. fine French and English furniture from Fireside Antiques completes the store's array of goods.

      Grandmother's Buttons store hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday, and 12 noon to 5:30 pm on Sundays. For more information on this unique shop, call 1-800-580-6941.


 

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