Jewelry & Trinket Boxes -  Some of the better Victorian and Edwardian jewellery boxes are today more collectable than the trinkets they were made to contain Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals


Click Here

Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Jewelry > Expert Tip: Jewelry & Trinket Boxes

* Famous Diamonds

* Famous Gold Nuggets

* Famous Opals - Featuring The Virgin Rainbow

* Australian Opals

* Famous Gemstones and Jewelry

* Crown Jewels

* Wedding Anniversary Gemstones

* Birthstones

* The House of Faberge

* Celebrities wearing crucifix jewelry makes the Vatican cross

* Harley Davidson Jewelry

Feature Series - Body Jewelry

The Benefits of Non Piercing Body Jewelry

* Bakelite

* Bakelite: Not Your Average Bangle

* Aromatic Viniagrettes

* Art Deco Jewelry

* Art Deco Jewellery

* Art and Crafts Movement Jewellery

* Cleaning Metal

* Cloisonne Enamel

* Dressing Table Accessories

* Collectible Fans

* Shopping For a Diamond Online

* Gemstone Jewelry

* Gemstones

* Gemstones

* All gemstones listed

* Caring for Horn

* Caring for Ivory and Bone

Cuff Link Collectors:
The New Craze

Buying Antique Native American Jewelry

Cleaning Pearls

Mourning Ring for Charles?

* Cleaning Mother of Pearl

* Perfume & Perfume Bottles

* Tortoiseshell - tortoise shell

* Victorian Jewellery and Parure

* Watch Stands and Pocket Watches

* Cuff Link Collectors: The New Craze

* Buying Antique Native American Jewelry

* Cleaning Pearls

* Mourning Ring for Charles?

Jewelry Bookshop & Resource Links



Jewelry Boxes
 Some of the better Victorian and Edwardian jewellery boxes are today more collectable than the trinkets they were made to contain

 Victorians, and particularly Victorian ladies, loved to put things in boxes, which were custom-made to contain snuff, pills, pins, tea, cosmetics, gloves, cards or a host of other things. The boxes were decorated for display and were to be found on virtually every surface in the house.

 Pride of place in the bedroom was reserved for jewel boxes. Jewellery, particularly costume jewellery, was being increasingly worn throughout the 19th century. The average middle-class woman had to have pieces hat not only matched a particular dress or marked an occasion but also signalled the status and wealth of the wearer.

 The best jewellery was kept in the specially shaped protective boxes in which it was sold. These were usually made of wood and covered with stamped and textured leather. The insides were lined with velvet or silk.

 Other pieces were stored together in a jewel or trinket box. Early ones were variations on the medieval casket, a small, portable chest with a lock and a domed lid. Betraying their medieval inspiration, they were made from heavily carved wood, usually oak.

 During the 19th century, jewel boxes were increasingly made in other materials, including pewter, silver, tin, earthenware, silver gilt, and papier mache. Wood, though, remained the most important base material. The best examples were made from expensive timbers such as figured walnut, rosewood and sandalwood. The insides of these boxes were lined with silk, velvet or satin, and many were fitted out with compartments and drawers for brooches, rings, earrings and so on.


 Their shape varied, but generally speaking the domed lid gave way to a flatter one which was much easier to decorate, usually with inlay of contrasting veneers, and sometimes coloured stones, mother-of-pearl or tortoiseshell. Tunbridge ware and ceramic tiles were also used. Lacquerwork and paintwork featuring chinoiserie designs of flowers, birds and scenery were popular choices for decorating papier-mache boxes. So handsome were many of these jewel boxes that they were handed down from generation to generation along with the jewellery.

 Although jewellery and trinkets were usually kept in boxes, small cabinets with fitted drawers, often secured with side-hinged lockable doors, made a pleasing alternative. The array ofl9thand 20th-century pieces above includes cabinets finished with parquetry, stain and veneers, and boxes of gilt and enamelled metal, lacquer and plastic, among others.


 Victorian jewellery and trinket boxes can turn up in all sorts of places. As so many of them were handed down through families, a look round relatives' dressing tables may yield something of interest or a starting point for a collection. Remember that many boxes may have changed their purpose over the years, and that old trinket boxes might well be holding sewing materials or bundles of love letters rather than jewels. Antiques and bric-a-brac shops and stalls are also likely hunting grounds. At auction sales are the best source if you're looking for really decorative items or those with a known history.


 So great was the variety of boxes made in the 19th century, that it can be difficult to specialise and still build up a collection. One interesting possibility, though, is novelty boxes. Some of these were made in the shapes of miniature houses or tiny castles. Other attractive examples had hinged doors on the front which revealed charmingly decorated chests of drawers when opened.

 The condition of a box is particularly important in what are essentially decorative pieces. Check carefully for missing pieces of veneer, mother-of-pearl or other inlay. The hinges should be original and secure; if not, this must be reflected in the price. The same goes for locks and keys.

 Make sure that all the drawers and compartments inside the box are in good order, and that there are no scuff marks on the lining to betray the position of a compartment that has gone missing. Torn linings can be replaced, but original ones, even if they're less than perfect, are more desirable.

 When displaying your collection, remember to keep all boxes, but particularly ones which have wooden, leather, paint or lacquer finishes, out of strong sunlight and away from extremes of heat or damp.


Box Chain - 22 inches - 10.1 grams

Art Nouveau Jewelry
Art Nouveau Jewelry
Buy This Art Print At

Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide, 4th Edition:
How to Buy Diamonds, Pearls, Colored Gemstones, Gold & Jewelry with Confidence and Knowledge

by Antoinette Matlins, Antonio Bonanno

by Fred Ward

The Pearl Book, 2nd Edition:
The Definitive Buying Guide to How to Select, Buy, Care for & Enjoy Pearls
by Antoinette Matlins

Gem & Jewelry Pocket Guide:
A Traveler's Guide to Buying Diamonds, Colored Gems, Pearls, Gold and Platinum Jewelry

by Renee Newman

Women's Jewelry at Franklin Mint