Young women of the 1860s-1900s would have parties in which they would exchange buttons & stories associated with them, Rules dictated that buttons couldn't be purchased for the collection & had to be gifts from other collectors, suitors, friends or family. The gift of a button was considered lucky & the stringing of the buttons on a string enhanced good luck.
Strings were often left in view of visitors in order to encourage donations as well as conversation starter by serving as a memento & reminder of past events. The string became a physical reminder of the button owner & times associated with that person.
Lore has it that girls who collected 999 buttons would meet her true love after adding the 1000th. Other stories claim the addition of the 1000th would doom the girl to spinsterhood. One thousand button strings are rare & most were much smaller. This one has about 150 buttons.