Diamonds, bracelets, earrings, and other gems can become iconic symbols of beauty, wealth, and style. But every piece of jewelry is retired to its box after its evening out, and for many women, it is important that their jewelry box is just as beautiful as what it stores. Women’s jewelry boxes come in many forms, which are archaically known as caskets, but their uniting purpose is the reason for their beauty. Often, they are made of materials just as valuable, or more so, than the jewelry they store, including silver, gold, precious gems, pearls, and ivory. These boxes can also be made with a more common material, like wood, but be elaborately carved, decorated, inlaid, and encrusted with other valuable items. Of course, traditionally, the jewelry box was meant to hold trinkets, prized sentimental possessions, as well as jewelry; but its contemporary nomenclature demonstrates that we have changed our cultural understanding of what exactly one of these boxes is for.
This brings up the first of the three most popular kinds of women’s jewelry boxes. The modern-styled box is more often than not simpler than its older counterparts. The Contemporary Espresso box w/ lock and key, for example, which is available on Amazon.com, is a multi-compartmented and black-brown bureau of small size. It has many drawers, an excellent feature for organization; this becomes even more important if a woman has a great deal of jewelry, or many easily lost or confused pieces, or perhaps wants to store other things besides baubles in her box. However, traditionally boxes are lined with silk, satin, or another soft fabric for the sake of protecting delicate or rust-prone gems, more modern models may not have this quality. The Contemporary Espresso mentioned above does have fabric-lined vertical compartments, however, on which to hang necklaces to prevent them from tangling. This is definitely a step-up from less complicated designs with horizontal compartments.
These newer jewelry boxes often come with mirrors, a feature that older types generally have as well. The infamous jewelry compartments made for Marie Antoinette were massive, gorgeously designed, and contained mirrors with which the queen could view herself with each necklace or diadem. For many women, the opulence of this kind of jewelry box is not only unnecessary, but impossible to budget, as well. However, it is possible to purchase a model that is either antique or styled like one. A popular design among those with more traditional tastes, a good example of this kind is the Gifts for Girls Wooden Antique Jewelry Box (wc466), by ShalinCraft. This box is small and rectangular, its compartment horizontal, and its lid engraved and inlaid with abalone and other pavonine materials. Its engravings are intricate and yet its simplicity makes emphasizes its overall uncomplicated appearance. There is a wide variety of “antique” jewelry boxes, in designs like Victorian, Romantic, and Baroque; they embody not only art movements and phases of but also periods in history and cultural mores. Depending upon what period of history moves you most, finding one suitable for you takes only a little research, especially if you are using the internet.