Antique and Vintage jewelry boxes are great collectors’ items; many of them are just as beautiful as the treasures they once contained! Get a brief history of these spectacular items, and see some of our favorite user-submitted boxes!
Though there are some jewelry boxes that date back to as early as the 4th century, most of the jewelry boxes as we know them came into existence around the late 19th, early 20th century. Like so many other items, jewelry boxes were made more widely-available by the Industrial Revolution. The most common type, known as a jewelry casket, is a rectangular box usually made of metal, wood, porcelain or plastic. More unique pieces can take the shape of a heart, household furniture or even musical instruments (as you’ll see below).
The most common jewelry boxes were made from antimonial lead, electroplated in copper, and finished in gold or silver (using names like French Bronze, Roman Gold and Parisian Silver). Art Nouveau had a big influence on the decoration of jewelry boxes, which is why you see so many with beautiful, floral motifs.
Some noted brands include Jennings Brothers, Kronheimer and Oldenbusch, Benedict, NB Rogers, The Art Metal Works, Brainard and Wilson, and Weidlich Brothers. Many European models were made available to a middle-class American market through mail-order catalogs like Sears & Roebuck, Marshall Fields and Montgomery Ward.
The most precious things many of these jewelry boxes kept, though, are the memories. Check out these user-submitted pieces below, and share photos of your jewelry boxes!
from: Brenda Dewitt: “Nippon jewelry box. Hand painted, also on the bottom.”
from: Misty Streitweiser: “Hi, I’m looking for ANY info on this set I bought at a Estate sale about 25 years ago. The woman was 90 yrs. old. Said her Father bought for for her on her 12th Birthday> Also thought it was from Austria or France.I have had Antique people look at it and say it’s old & hand made, also they say the glass is hand beveled. It has no markings. This is one of the perfume bottle’s ( over 10″ tall). I guess it’s called a dresser set. There are 5 pieces to the set. The mirror tray is 22″ long. It has another perfume bottle, a jewelry box and a bud vase which comes with a glass insert that is hand blown & etched with flowers. Thanks”
from: Bill Nabors: “Old guitar jewelry box, says on the mechanics LADOR Switzerland, my grandmother got it while overseas when grandpa was in the navy.”
from: Linda Taylor: “WWII Trench Art Jewelry Box. Handcarved with the DUI (designated unit insignia) of the 361st Engineer Regiment and the words “To Meeda – We Do”. Inside carving – France 1945. That location and date match the service record of this particular unit that I could find online. This is such a deeply personal and romantic item and I would love to discover more about the history. I bought it online several years ago and it still bothers me that it didn’t stay with the family.”
from: Brenda Tackett: “This was my grandmother’s jewelry box. I remember always seeing it on her vanity when I was growing up. It was the thing I wanted most when she died.”
from: Kim Chonko Rooney: “Can anyone give me any info. on this, please? It’s a jewelry box about 19″ long. It does have a music box in it too. Does this have any value? Thanks so much.”