Cut steel beads became popular as early as the 1700's when they were used for buckles and buttons. They were popular because the densely cut steel beads would reflect candle light like precious stones. But the pieces were inexpensive enough for the middle class.
This is a hard to find set of early matching buttons. Each button is 1/2" in diameter with 30 beads. Generally speaking, the earlier the piece, the more beads you will find per inch. During Georgian times, the first pieces had 17 beads per inch. By Victorian times, there were only five beads per inch. Based on the fact that I count seven beads across the diameter, these would have about 14 beads per inch, making them quite early.
The buttons have a loop shank. I didn't remove the buttons from the card for photos because I suspect they may possibly be on the original card. Someone added a piece of scotch tape at some point because the thread holding the buttons in place was coming loose. One of the buttons, the one in the upper right, is loose on the card.
The buttons still have a lot of sparkle. Their condition is very good for their age. However, I do detect some very slight traces of rust on some of the buttons. There is also a single missing bead on one button.
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