We are a trade only company and do not sell directly to the public. 

Real Shell Buttons

There are many different types of shell on earth but not all are suitable for making into buttons. There are many different types of shell with different origins, properties, and value but what makes most shell buttons special is their pearly finish and depth of colour. Real shells come in four different colours; White, Brown, Black and Natural and no two are identical. Some are shiny, some are dotted, some have pink or blue undertones and others are rainbow tinted. At Jones we offer Shell buttons in 2 hole, 4 hole, flower shape or shank and they are suitable for a wide variety of men and womenswear garments.  Due to the delicate nature of real shell we advise to wash with care – avoid acidic cleansers and do not use washing machine or tumble dryer to avoid chipping or cracking.

Mother of Pearl is a description used for certain shells that have an iridescent/sheen inner layer. The term ‘Mother of Pearl’ is also known as Nacre or Nacreous and should not be confused with MOP which is a type of shell as listed below.

Read further to find out more about these different types of shell.most


  • Carved from: Pictada Shells
  • Origin: Indo-Pacific
  • Family: Pteriidae
  • Used for the production of cultured pearls
  • There are 3 different types of MOP shell:
    • White lip –  scientific name Pinctada Maxima. Also known as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of shells
    • Black lip –  scientific name Pictada Magaritifera
    • Brown lip – scientific name Pterta (or Magnavicula) Penguin
  • Jones MOP Buttons include:
    X119, X330, X712, X715, X756, X810, X771 and X487


  • Carved from: Troca Shells (largest of the top shells)
  • Origin: Indo-Pacific
  • Family: Trochidae
  • Yoko is the side of the shell. Buttons carved from here have:
    • Multicoloured back and greeny tinge
  • Ten is the base of shell and buttons carved from here have:
    • Red speckled back and creamier coloured front
    • Larger blanks can be cut from here
  • Lower priced than MOP
  • Jones Troca Buttons include:
    X111, X121 and X300


  • Family: Haliotidae
  • There are different types of Abalone based on their origin, at Jones we stock:
    • Mexican Abalone X190
      • Scientific Name: Haliotis Fugens
        Origin: California or West Mexico
        Varied shades of green and blue are prominent
    • Australian Abalone X185 (which is also called Goldfish)
      • Scientific Name: Haliotis Kamtschatkana
      • Origin: Australia, Japan and Alaska
  • Other types of Abalone worth noting include:
    • New Zealand Abalone (called Paua) as it is similar to Mexican Abalone but a bit brighter and bluer
    • South African but it is not often used for buttons and has brownish blobs on it
  • Abalone is thought to have different spiritual properties Including:
    • Being a symbol of water that represents calmness and tranquillity
    • Having crystal properties like a shield with protective and healing qualities


  • Family: Pteriidae
  • Scientific Name: Pinctada (or Ptera) Martensii
  • Origin: Japan, China, Australia and India
  • Used for production of cultured pearls
  • Type of Oyster
  • Farmed to create cultivated pearls so they are a bi product from the pearl industry
  • 1980s and 1990s the prices were often less than for polyester, astronomical quantities used
  • Sell a lot that have been lasered, painted and coated
  • Uneven shells with very thin parts
  • Getting good quality is important to avoid breakages
  • Often when on a garment leading stores put 3-4 spares in a bag on the garment
  • Jones Akoya Buttons include:
    X176, X151, X393, X758, X795, X470, X392, X397, X776 and X800

Fresh Water/Rivershell/Estuary

  • Family: Unionidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyriopsis Schiegeli or Mararififera
  • Origin: China
  • Types of mussel
  • Used for the production of fresh water cultured pearls
  • Most now come from the Yangtse River in China and have several different shades. Years ago these shells were abundant in the River Mississippi.
  • Jones Rivershell Buttons include:
    X120 and X386


  • Family: Turbinidae
  • Scientific Name: Turbo Argyrostoma
  • Origin: Indo-Pacific
  • Type of snail type shell with a green back
  • Jones Tamagai button is: