Along with the buttons came a card that explains the meaning of Balela. Balela is an African Xhosa word which means to "shine clear as the sun from an unclouded sky". Well, the buttons certainly do that! Each one is handcrafted from clay, painted, then fired at stoneware temperatures to make them strong enough to use on clothing.
What I can tell you is that each of the buttons in front of me is an exquisite work of art.