Throughout history, the Šibenik botun (button) has adorned the male folk costume, while in the modern age, is has become one of the most recognisable souvenirs of the Šibenik region.
In 2007, the Croatian National Tourist Board proclaimed it the most original Croatian souvenir. Today, the Šibenik botun can be purchased in the form of earrings, rings, pendants, tie pins, broches, necklaces, etc. The botun is made using the filigree technique. It has the form of two semi-circles, joined in the middle. It is hollow and airy inside. The outer side is ornamented with fine silver threads and balls. The original botun was made of silver, though today they are also made of gold and aluminium, in different sizes.
The earliest examples of metal buttons, like the toke, were found even in the Illyrian graves from the early 1st century BC. However, medieval depictions of the Dalmatian people show no pronounced decoration with the botun. The widespread adoption of the toke in the folk costume was most prominent during the military organisation of the frontier region, in defence against the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. The most beautiful and largest botuns today can be seen on the ječermam, vests typical to the folk costumes of the Drniš and Cetina regions.
At that time, only the men wore botuns – they indicated the social position and power of the person wearing them, and could be compared to military medals, as they were part of the gifts that the military leaders in Zadar gave to heroes and commanders. They had both an aesthetic and a protective function. During those unsafe times, they were the most valuable part of the family’s assets. Demand for them increased, and they were soon created by many master silversmiths, resulting in a large number of craftsmen becoming highly skilled in the filigree technique, from the Skadar region in the south to northern Dalmatia.