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This button mould, which is intricately carved from steatite (soapstone; or kleber in Shetland dialect), would have been used from Mediaeval times to cast buttons. Animal horn was the most likely material. After softening in boiling water, the horn would be pressed into the mould and left to harden. Buttons could also have been made from metals with low melting points (e.g. silver and pewter). The mould is approximately 150mm long by 50mm wide by 20mm deeep.