A thimble is a protective shield worn on the finger or thumb. It is a tool that has been used to protect the finger or thumb whilst sewing for many centuries.
However the humble thimble has now become a great Collectors’ item and the hobby is enjoyed by people around the world.
Thimbles are usually made from metal, leather, rubber, and wood, and even glass or china. Early thimbles were sometimes made from whale bone, horn, or ivory. Natural sources were also utilized such as Connemara marble, bog oak, or mother of pearl. Rarer works from thimble makers utilized diamonds, sapphires, or rubies.
Collecting thimbles became popular in the UK when many companies made special thimbles to commemorate the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.
Early American thimbles made of whale bone or tooth featuring miniature scrimshaw designs are considered valuable collectibles. Such rare thimbles are prominently featured in a number of New England Whaling Museums.