A fairly plain thimble, designed to protect a needleworker’s finger from damage when using a needle and thread for lengthy periods of time. It could be worn on a finger which pushes a needle through resistant fabrics, or on a different finger to protect it from the point of the needle as it punctures through fabrics.
This example is silver in colour – but is probably made from steel rather than silver itself as it has no hallmarks. The surface of the thimble features many dimples, designed to accommodate the end of the needle, and stop it from slipping and potentially piercing the fingers of the handler. Many such items, particularly those made of the more precious material of silver, feature far more decorative designs of dimples – but those on this example are basically arranged in rows.
Thimbles date back to prehistoric times, when hunters of mammoths used to decorate the hides with beads – some 30,000 years ago. The modern, metal thimble that we recognise today was first made by a Dutch artisan in around 1695. It has remained relatively unchanged ever since.