Jewelry and Buttons - Ruskin Pottery (2023)

Considerable interest was expressed in jewelry made with Ruskin Pottery enamels.

The opportunity was taken to explore the use of these glazes by both jewelers and hobbyists in the arts and crafts setting, often in the home. Judging by the number of newly discovered pieces, the use of Ruskin glazes was considerable, not so much in the upper end of the silver market, where the use of ceramic glazes rather than semi-precious stones was probably considered undesirable, but in the home arts sector. and industry involving tin.

The period during which this work was carried out was probably quite long, spanning most of the factory's life from the early 1901's to the late 1920's or even the early 1930's. Ruskin were the standard production ones, but there are also well-known examples of flamed enamels, almost always mounted on silver. The first glazes are particularly beautiful with the usual soufflé glazes, which are usually interspersed with natural stone or even glass, while the glossy glazes are examples of the yellow and orange colored glazes, as well as examples of the glazes developed after the First World War. in the 1920s as a bluish delphinium. The blue ocher soufflé from the period 1922 to 1927 and the matte effect enamels from the late 1920s to early 1930s are also present, providing the collector with a very wide range of examples of enamels, types, colors and mounting types.

If the collector is only interested in Ruskin pieces, it should be noted here that the undoubted popularity of Ruskin enamels has led other manufacturers with a variety of colored enamels to offer a variety of enamels as well. Marked examples from Moorcroft, Minton Hollins and Co. and Kensington Art Pottery are known, but there are many unmarked examples and few match Ruskin's glazes in quality and richness of color. From a Ruskin collector's point of view, it is best to avoid pieces that are unmarked or where the mark is not visible on the stone, unless the enamel provides certainty of Ruskin manufacture, such as. B. heavily burned parts.

Associated with jewelry making is the production of ceramic buttons by Ruskin Pottery. They generally resemble nail polish in shape and glaze, but have a small ceramic rod molded into the back to accommodate the wire. Buttons were originally sold in sets attached to cards and specimens occasionally appear on the market, but individual buttons are usually found. Other manufacturers have also made these buttons, including Pilkington, as well as the other companies mentioned above, and since buttons are not always marked, shape and enamel are important in determining the manufacturer.

The History of Ruskin Jewelry

There are examples of circles and hearts with antique soufflé glazes, using the clay body known as 'tocky', baked to a rich golden colour. There are examples from around 1902, perhaps even earlier, and some bear the 'WHT' monogram in small print (for markings, see 'Ruskin Pottery' The Lost Catalogue).

While they were originally intended for mounting in appliances, caskets, lamps, etc., there is no reason why the pieces themselves should dictate why they shouldn't have been used in jewelry. The first mention of glazes is in an article in the Birmingham Daily Post expanding on an article written for the January 1903 issue of the Pottery Gazette. The Daily Post article reported: “A new starting point is the manufacture of small round plates – 'round' ranging from about three inches in diameter to the size of a small button. These are intended to be incorporated into decorative woodwork and metalwork as gemstones or points of color."

(Video) Lecture | Scraping Ruskin

However, there is evidence of earlier production on a circle used on the lid of a Liberty and Co. with the Birmingham silver mark for 1901/2 and in a design of a white metal 'knob' bearing a registered number 388979 from 1902. This circular flower-shaped design surrounding a center stone is known in various sizes and is used in the form of brooches, pins and mantle brooches. It has the registration number in a printed oval and "The Guild Button Ns.E.S." in another printed oval (see illustration).

Somewhat later entries in the twelfth-century catalogANDSpring Exhibition held at Cartwright Memorial Hall in 1905, Bradford points out that Bourneville, Birmingham goldsmith Bernard Cuzner, just beginning his career, mounted Ruskin enamels, such as those contained in the gold and silver objects he exhibited, were the two elements to follow:

At the. 678 Hammered Silver Buckle, Taylor Pottery 15s. 0d.

At the. 682 Forged Silver Buckle, Taylor Pottery 15s. 0d.

For comparison purposes, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Gaskin had issued a Green Folder with Silver Clasp for £2.2s. 0d. and the Bromsgrove Guild showed off a £4 silver peacock enamel buckle. 4 sec 0d. So it seems that using Taylor's ceramic glazes in silver was a cheaper option, even in green paste. There are now no known examples of Cuzner jewelry with Ruskin enamels.

Few silver items bearing maker's marks were recorded, but William Gilbert, another Birmingham jeweler, is known to have joined the firm of A. Edward Jones at about the same time as the Bradford show was taking place, after joining in its Windmill Street it moved premises and that jewels, some with Ruskin enamel from Taylors, were added to its assortment. The 1906 London Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society catalog shows that pieces designed by W. Gilbert were shown as part of the exhibition A Edward Jones. Also from this period is an unpublished manuscript in the archives of A. Edward Jones Ltd., written by F.L. Temple, who also worked for Jones, titled "A Short Account of the Start and Growth of St. Dunstan Silver Works" reported that "a selection of Ruskin's productions were exhibited on the Continent, though the pottery as such was priceless". At that time, one was given as a gift for jewelry. Does anyone remember the funny jokes about who should get the honors. Must Mr. Taylor or Mr. Jones or the designer Mr. Gilbert or me being the worker who produced it at the time?


Someone noted that although the pieces were made within the Jones establishment, they were actually designed by W. Gilbert and appeared to have been made by various artisans, of which Temple was one. A. Edward Jones is also known to have helped or been involved in several projects with Bernard Cuzner during this period.

There are a large number of fine Ruskin enamels, set like a clasp on a plain silver band or an undecorated setting, and are generally unmarked or marked only as 'silver' or 'sterling silver'. Other small silver items include a ring and earrings.

Buttons, plates, and jewelry formed an important part of Ruskin pottery displays at shows. The Pottery Gazette noted "...a collection of his pretty 'Ruskin' buttons for women's dresses..." at the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908 and the Ideal House Exhibition in 1910 noted " a case in the department of garments, Ruskin enameled dress buttons, sleeve buttons and hat pins, brooches, pendants, waist buckles, buttons, etc. made of Ruskin enamel mounted in silver…”.

A 1909 advertisement in the Pottery Gazette stated that "buttons for dresses etc. are now in great demand". The earliest known exhibition where buttons were shown was the 1904 Leeds Arts and Crafts Exhibition, where 18 buttons were sold for 10p (2.5p) each, and at the Leeds Spring Exhibition in 1905 there were again two sets of six buttons. 3 sec each (14.6p). The last major exhibition where buttons were listed was the London Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society exhibition in 1912, when a set of six buttons still cost 3s.

As already mentioned, Ruskin Pottery was by no means the only company producing ceramic buttons, and in April 1919 the Pottery Gazette noted that Minton Hollins and Co. exhibited at the British Industries Fair “An Interesting Range of Ceramic Buttons” along with a series of medallions which can be attached as brooches.

Another indication of the popularity of Ruskin's jewelry and the importance of these lines to Ruskin Pottery was the inclusion in his 1917 illustrated booklet of two colored plates, one with the stone mounted in gold and the other with unmounted enamels, showing different enamels and color effects. . The use of gold is unusual and few extant pieces are known, so Howson Taylor may have commissioned the pieces shown for the illustration. A pendant, a bracelet and an earring are included, for example, in two shapes: oval and rhombus. The caption to the second figure states that glazes were "used for buttons, cufflinks, and pins, and for setting in metals, wood, etc."

(Video) Arts & Crafts movement-William Morris-AWN Pugin-John Ruskin-History of 20th Century Design Movements

A pin drawing is known from this period in several copies, bearing the registration number 662862, the initials Ac and PLATINO. The design was registered in 1918 and corresponds to a round stone set in a white metal casting with a square frame. The manufacturer was Albert Carter and the PLATINO brand was also used by A.J. Pimenta e Companhia Ltda Shrimpton and Co., whose brand was "S & Co", produced brooches with PLATONDOR in relief. In 1918, an alternative metal to platinum was being developed, consisting of an alloy with various names, OSMIOR, PLATOR, PLATINOV and the two above.

Ruskin Pottery itself included dishes in its product list in its subsequent catalogue, prepared in 1924 for the Empire Exhibition at Wembley, “..., Ironwork and Furniture.” Special card holders were made to advertise the clasps for sale. No Ruskin catalogs or post-1924 exhibition catalogs are known to list such items, but a December 1931 advertisement for Ruskin pottery in The Studio mentions, but does not illustrate, "Ruskin stones of all shapes and colors".


Ruskin's jewels and buttons offer the collector the opportunity to assemble a truly representative selection of the enamels for which the company was famous. Some soufflé colors are rarely seen in vases or bowls, but can be found in smaller objects, circles and plates of various shapes. A rare enamel, the crystalline enamel known as Aventurine, which is various shades of brown with embedded crystalline flecks that sparkle and sparkle in the sunlight, is occasionally found mounted as jewelry for which it is particularly suited, but is known only from one other mounted form. in some small bowls, plates and vases. Glossy enamels, on the other hand, are less common in jewelry and the full range of glossy colors does not appear to have been used. Flamed, crystalline and matte enamels are also rare, but examples can be found.

product selection

Brooches are the most common form of jewelry featuring round, square, rectangular, oval and hexagonal enamels, with some examples being triangular and some heart-shaped, although these are surprisingly rare. Other known or associated items include pendants, bracelets, earrings, rings, hat pins, shawl pins, buckles, men's cape and brooches, cuffs (cufflinks) and rivets, and a set of dress buttons are known.

Some circles have a recessed spine with a groove to accommodate a spring-loaded circular wire attached to the pin. These circles have a printed marking.




Circles and plates are also known to be used in some more unusual items such as mirror compacts and cigarette cases. It is possible that ceramic thread beads were also made, presumably by workers for their own use.

Surely one more item the Ruskin jewelry collector needs and that is a jewelry box or chest studded with Ruskin hearts or jewelry. Many of these boxes were made and range in style and price, from tinplate boxes made by artisans to fine pewter and copper examples made by companies such as Jesson & Birkett and Co. Ltd and A. Edward Jones.

  • Jewelry and Buttons - Ruskin Pottery (12)
  • Jewelry and Buttons - Ruskin Pottery (13)

Several museums have examples of plaques, medallions, buttons and jewelry. A documentary group was acquired by the Nottingham Castle Museum from Miss Rosemary Syson of Nuthall, Nottinghamshire in 1975 when the Dryden Street tin shop owned by Mr. Edgar Hutchinson closed. The store's stock consisted of several plates, some set in pewter like jewels, along with a few glass and one mother-of-pearl. These were kept in the large, old-fashioned glass candy stores then in use. The museum made a selection of 27 assembled and 39 unassembled pieces. Of the unmounted glazes, 34 were marked RUSKIN, RUSKIN POTTERY or RUSKIN ENGLAND, 3 were marked ASTRA (for Minton Hollins and Co.) and two, including an orange 3-inch diameter, were unmarked. The jewels included 13 with ceramic glazes that can only be considered primarily Ruskin as the pewter blade conceals all markings, one was stamped for Kensington and Art Ware C&L and 4 were mother of pearl. The collection also features a hair comb and a hat pin, both set in glass.

Ruskin's toppings were the standard blue, green, pink, lilac, or purple soufflé, but also included orange and yellow glitter. One had a light Kingfisher glaze and was marked RUSKIN.

  • Jewelry and Buttons - Ruskin Pottery (14)
  • Jewelry and Buttons - Ruskin Pottery (15)
  • Jewelry and Buttons - Ruskin Pottery (16)


1. Living with Ruskin: Edmund de Waal & Professor Tim Barringer
(Watts Gallery - Artists' Village)
2. Paul Mellon Lecture | Ruskin and the Idea of the Museum
3. Renee Blackwell design 1940's vintage button silver drop earrings
4. Beautiful Diamond Pendant with Natural Coloured Diamonds |Dickinson's Real Deal |S10 E45 | HomeStyle
(curio vendor)
6. Ruskin Life Safety Damper Installations Webinar Replay (Part 2)
(Ruskin Authority in Air Control)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated: 04/27/2023

Views: 6532

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.