Jewelry is beautiful, but history shows us that the places where our heirlooms are kept can also be beautiful and even be thought of as keepsakes themselves. It wasn’t just for storing fine gold and ornaments in a jewelry box, which is also called a jewelry casket. It was also used to keep other things and important papers safe. Jump out to our complete guide for buying antique jewelry boxes.
Elegant designs and decorations on vintage jewelry boxes can make even the cheapest fake jewelry look better. Jewelry boxes are inexpensive and useful for any style because they can be used in modern settings, unlike some collectibles from the boudoir era.
Jewelry boxes, ranging from complicated curios to earrings and necklace trees made of Y2K wire, have been around for a long time. Still, some kinds of jewelry boxes are popular and can be found in thrift stores.
- Jewelry cabinets: In the middle to late 20th century, jewelry cabinets, which were usually made of wood, were very popular. They were great for people who had a lot of gold. They had a lot of storage space and were a type of furniture that could stand on its own.
- Lacquer jewelry boxes: Lacquer jewelry boxes, which were most popular between the 1920s and 1940s, are known for their shine. They usually come in deep, reflecting colors like black, red, white, blue, and so on.
- Presentation boxes: Gift boxes are different from other jewelry boxes because they are only meant to hold one or two pieces of jewelry. Because they’re meant to be gifts, they’re made to make the jewelry stand out. But in fact, many people use their presentation boxes for things that are valuable or important to them.
- Upright jewelry closet-style boxes: Around the middle of the 20th century, jewelry boxes that looked like tall trunks and chests of drawers were very popular. You can think of them as the Wardrobe figure from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, but much smaller. There would be a place to hang chains and a set of drawers for earrings, rings, and pins behind small hinged doors.
- Compact jewelry boxes: Small jewelry boxes were made to be taken on trips, and they could only hold a few things at a time.
Almost any object could be used to make an old or antique jewelry box, though some types were more common than others. The most popular materials are:
Rare Jewelry Boxes
History buffs are lucky because there are a lot of different small and big historic jewelry boxes made in a wide range of styles to meet everyone’s needs. Make sure you keep an eye out for these rare boxes.
Tramp Art Jewelry Box
A famous form of folk art in the US from the late 1800s to World War II was called “Tramp Art.” Though the name “Tramp Art” comes from the 1950s, the artifacts were not made by tramps as the name suggests. The artist made many things, like jewelry boxes, out of things they found, most of the time cigar boxes. Individual cigar boxes were taken apart and used to make beautiful things by carving, whittling, notching, layering, and gluing.
People who weren’t careful could easily break the flimsy Tramp Art boxes. These days, a lot of people gather these old forms of art. The worth of a jewelry box is usually based on how complicated and delicate the design is. However, each of these is rare because there is only one like it.
- Nails or screws
Antique Metal Box
In the early 1900s, metal jewelry boxes became popular. They were often made with Art Nouveau designs that included stylized flowers and nature scenes, as well as women with long hair.
Even though these necklace boxes are made in large quantities, they are not common because the materials break down over time. The finishes came off and the hinges broke very quickly. Art Nouveau brass jewelry boxes like this are hard to find in good shape. There are some of these art metal boxes that were made to match old dresser sets, and it’s infrequent to find a whole set of them. These boxes were made from different kinds of metal, such as:
- Zinc-based alloy
- Ivory enamel
Commemorative Jewelry Box
An additional type of one-of-a-kind jewelry box has designs and patterns that are meant to honor a certain event. The rarer the jewelry box, the more unusual or important the event. Manufacturers often made a number of products to promote big events like the 1904 World’s Fair. These collectible items can sometimes be found at auctions today.
Because these goods came from humble beginnings, the people who bought them often didn’t see much value in them and threw them away or lost them in the attic or basement. Think about how many times you’ve thrown away a commemorative bulletin, cup, or wristband. People who collect things like this can get a lot of money for these special boxes today, but they’re hard to find. Usually, these boxes are made of wood.
Designer Jewelry Box
After the late 1800s, fashion houses and high-end jewelry designers started making jewelry boxes and other accessories for this boudoir area. Expert workmanship is often used to make these boxes out of very high-quality materials. Artists like Fabergé and Limoges made metal boxes that are very rare and often very expensive. Beautiful portraits, scenery, and flowers were carefully painted on those that were brought in from France.
People often say that the bright metal colors look just as good now as they did when they were first put on. Like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany’s, other high-end brands put their own well-known logos and styles on their old jewelry boxes, which makes them very desirable to people who collect brand names.
If you think a piece was made by an artist, you can check for manufacturing marks and paper paperwork. But you won’t find as many old examples of these boxes for sale as you will find vintage examples.
Where to Buy Antique Jewelry Boxes
Collectors who know what they’re looking for can find unique, expensive jewelry boxes at yard sales, thrift stores, and antique shops in their area. But make sure the gold boxes you buy at antique auctions are exactly what you think they are before you buy them. Still, if you have a clear idea of the ones you want to buy or just want to look at a lot of them before making a choice, these are the best websites to visit:
eBay Inc. (often written as eBay) is an American global e-commerce company based in San Jose, California. It facilitates retail and customer-to-customer sales through online marketplaces in 190 markets around the world. Either online auctions or “buy it now” instant sales are used to make sales, and the company pays buyers a fee when a sale is made. The company eBay was started by Pierre Omidyar in September 1995. It has 134 million active buyers every year around the world, and in 2022, it did $74 billion worth of business, 49% of which was in the US.
If you’re looking for old or antique things, especially things that you used to find around the house, eBay is the standard when it comes to online auctions. It’s also always easy to get to.
Etsy is an American e-commerce firm for handmade and antique goods and craft supplies. Jewelry, bags, apparel, home décor and furniture, toys, art, craft supplies, and tools are among these things. Vintage items are at least 20 years old. The service gives sellers dedicated storefronts to list their wares for US$0.20 per item, like open craft fairs. Since 2013, Etsy has accepted mass-produced products.
As another big name in the antique and vintage goods market online, Etsy has a huge selection of old jewelry boxes for sale at prices ranging from less than $50 to over $100.
Amazon.com, Inc. specializes in e-commerce, cloud computing, online advertising, digital streaming, and AI. It is one of the Big Five American technological companies, along with Alphabet (parent company of Google), Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. Amazon has a large collection of antique jewelry and jewelry boxes.
Amazon was created by Jeff Bezos in his Bellevue garage on July 5, 1994. It began as a book marketplace but has since expanded into several product categories, earning the name The Everything Store. Amazon has several subsidiaries, including Amazon Web Services, Zoox, Kuiper Systems, and Amazon Lab126. Other subsidiaries include Ring, Twitch, IMDb, and Whole Foods. In August 2017, it acquired Whole Foods for US$13.4 billion, expanding its physical retail network.
It’s an online store called 1stdibs (stylized as 1stDibs). A store on its website sells expensive things like fine art, jewelry, and high-end furniture for home decor. The business has been praised for “bringing the antiques business into the 21st century.” Today, its headquarters are in New York City, but it was started in Paris.
You should check out 1st Dibs’ website if you want to buy a more expensive old or antique jewelry box. Each antique trader in the US has high-quality, expensive items to sell, and they help to make sales possible.
Independent sellers sell antiques, vintage items, apparel, jewelry, dolls, and art at Ruby Lane. Half of the site’s sales are jewelry. Ruby Lane does not take commissions and sells products at defined pricing.
Our in-house art and antique experts assess each Ruby Lane shop before launching to ensure it meets requirements. To ensure that things for sale are authentic and appropriately represented, all open shops must follow a uniform set of quality requirements.
Ruby Lane is an average online store that sells antiques and vintage items. It works with antique sellers from all over the US to sell their goods. There are all price ranges of jewelry boxes for sale here, from cheap to expensive.
Taking Care of Your Boxes
After finding the right jewelry box, make sure to put it somewhere safe, preferably out of direct sunlight. Maintain a steady room temperature, and wash your hands before touching any fragile or broken boxes to avoid transferring dirt or skin oils to the finish. If you take good care of your historic jewelry boxes, they will last for many generations.
A clean jewelry box is the only way to keep a beautiful collection of jewelry safe. To keep your valuable items safe from air and moisture, you need a special storage box. However, if you’re like many jewelry lovers, you’ll wait until your box is dirty, stained, and full of lint before you try to clean it.
In conclusion, buying an old jewelry box is fun and fulfilling. It gives you a chance to connect with history and gives your collection a touch of classic elegance. When looking for an antique jewelry box, it’s important to remember to put originality, craftsmanship, and provenance at the top of your list. Do a lot of research, get to know different styles and times, and only trust dealers or auction houses with a good reputation.
Take the time to enjoy the unique stories that each old jewelry box holds, whether it’s through the fine details, the materials used, or the time period it represents. Wait patiently as you look; it may take time and effort to find the right piece.
Think about how useful the item will be for you by checking its size, storage space, and overall state. Please make sure that the antique jewelry box fits both your style choices and your practical needs.
Lastly, make your choices based on how much you love old jewelry boxes. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, the fun of finding and buying these beautiful items comes from getting to know each box on a personal level. Enjoy exploring old jewelry boxes, and may you find beauty, history, and a sense of classic style in your search.