Do you have an old antique jewelry chest handed down to you by your grandmother, and you’re curious about its value? Did you happen to be doing some cleaning and find any old jewelry boxes? Or are you an antique collector looking for the next valuable collectible to add to your collection?
This article will explain the history of jewelry boxes, popular styles of jewelry boxes, the most popular ones, and where to buy and sell jewelry boxes! So that one-of-a-kind jewelry box you’ve had for years could be worth thousands of dollars!
History of Jewelry Boxes
Since jewelry has been available for centuries, jewelry boxes are not new inventions. However, “jewelry box” is a new term. Originally, they were called jewelry caskets, which were larger boxes but smaller than chests with slightly raised stands.
The Egyptians used these boxes for jewelry as far back as 5000 BC. On the other hand, jewelry was only available to the very wealthy among the early Romans. Only a few members of royalty and high society were permitted to own so much jewelry that it required a box.
It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that jewelry boxes became more affordable, as the ability to machine-cut stones and metal allowed for a price reduction.
The caskets were then made smaller so that middle-class families could also afford them. Even smaller ones, like trinket boxes, were made for keeping smaller jewelry like rings.
There are a wide variety of jewelry boxes created depending on the trend, and this allows for a variety of options to choose from based on preference. Because of their elegant designs, old jewelry boxes are timeless gifts, and they are highly valuable.
Popular Antique Jewelry Box Styles
Depending on the intended use, jewelry boxes have different appearances and styles, from minimal, clean designs to ornate, floral decoration to dark, grim aesthetics. Below are some of the most popular styles of old jewelry boxes.
These are one of the most sought-after types of jewelry boxes. The design changes over time, but the function remains the same.
They are perfect for gifting and storing valuables, and their long shape allows them to store items like watches, bracelets, and necklaces. Some of them also come with lift-out trays for rings.
Despite their simplicity, presentation boxes are highly valued at auction houses due to their signature and elegant appearance.
Art Deco Jewelry Box
This style of jewelry box is famous for its glitz and opulence. They were popular in the 1920s and were distinguished by their streamlined and sleek designs. Due to their limited availability, their value at auction houses is high and continues to rise yearly.
Leather Jewelry Box
The leather jewelry box has always been popular because of its durability and widespread availability. Apart from their simple designs, they protect jewelry properly because they are airtight.
They may not fetch as much at auction due to their common nature unless they are antique and of high quality.
These boxes are high-grade collectibles worth a lot of money because they’re both musical and jewelry boxes. With its intricate design and sweet tunes, it’s a collector’s fortune.
The price is usually determined by the box’s working condition. If the box can still play a tune, and a well-known tune at that, it will be much more valuable.
Gothic boxes, with their fine craftsmanship and distinct style, will always be in high demand. Apart from collectors who are impressed with the high value, fashionistas are impressed with the decorative embossing, glass, gems, and themes ranging from architecture to religion.
19 Most Popular and Valuable Vintage Jewelry Boxes
Before the Victorian era, jewelry boxes were not mass-produced because only the wealthy could afford fine jewelry.
Therefore, these antique jewelry boxes carry a lot of value because they were made with some of the best materials and were unique. The most popular old jewelry boxes worth money are as follows:
1. Japanese Sterling Silver Jewelry Box
This exquisite sterling silver jewelry box was created in the 20th century. The dainty little box has three layers for all the precious jewels, and they have a wine-colored velvet interior. It was sold for $3,198 on Invaluable by New Orleans Auction Galleries.
2. Richard Bitterman (1932-2015) Jewelry Box
The surface of the Richard Bitterman jewelry box is composed of iron pieces such as brass, copper, and steel. It has a velvet interior despite its abrasive exterior. This box is for people with more eccentric tastes. It was sold for $1,220 on Invaluable.
3. Continental Art Nouveau Style Bird’s-Eye Maple Jewelry Casket, Late 19th Century
This jewelry box has a unique shape with drawn-out pointed edges. The edges are embellished with a silvered metal cut-out mount. The handle, which stands straight up at the top, is also made of the same material. It was listed on Invaluable for $480.
4. Antique 1820s French Palais Lemon Wood Jewelry Box
This jewelry box is handcrafted in France from solid lemonwood. The interior is lined with paper, and it features a mirror and chenille trim.
On the box is a stunning stain painting design that contrasts nicely with the darker wood edging and base. It has a length of 7.5 inches, a width of 5.5 inches, and a height of 4 inches. It is available on eBay for $371.25.
5. Art Deco Palisander Wood and Copper Modernist Jewelry Box
Made in France in the early 1800s, this jewelry box was designed by the Art Deco era’s master craftsman, Emile Jaques Ruhlmann.
The use of exotic palisander wood and copper in its construction illustrates the maker’s skill. It is intricately detailed and a great addition to a collection at $480 on eBay.
6. Original French Avantgarde Rosewood Art Deco Jewelry Box 1930
You can tell how valuable this jewelry box is by its sleek design. It was made in France between 1925 and 1935 and was beautifully crafted out of solid rosewood and metal. The way the box is built allows it to fold and unfold, giving it a futuristic appeal. This piece costs $308 on eBay.
7. Original Suprematism Wood Art Deco
This stunning art deco jewelry box was made in Japan between 1920 and 1930. The hand-crafted lacquered wooden box features a red and gray suprematism pattern. It is a valuable collectible, selling for $256 on eBay.
8. Vintage Original 50s Mid-century Teak Jewelry Box
The vintage jewelry box has a sleek, classy look that could fit right into a modern home. Made in Germany from 1950 to 1959, this is a worthy collectible produced from teak and other wood types.
This box is designed to have foldable feet, which adds to its contemporary look. This jewelry box costs $260 on eBay.
9. Bauhaus Avant-Garde Art Deco Double Roll Top Jewelry Box
This unique jewelry box was crafted in Germany between 1925 and 1935 out of wood and metal in an avant-garde shape, and it features two roll tops. This box is an exquisite work of craftsmanship. It is available for $425 on eBay.
10. Antique French Rose Large Silk Brocade Tapestry Dome Jewelry Keepsake Box
This ornately decorated box with gold loop silk trim made from silk brocade is another collector’s favorite. It has a lot of storage space, with three large sections on the upper and lower levels. On eBay, you can purchase it for $375.
11. French 19th C Bronze Plaque Walnut Jewelry Box
This antique French walnut jewelry box with bronze mounts is quite impressive. It features five plaques on all sides, including the top, depicting various images such as a woman and a winged baby, musical instruments, bows and arrows, and a wreath with bow ties.
The box has Lion Paw feet and is listed on eBay for $685.
12. Tiger Maple Jewelry Box Mantle Decor
The tiger maple jewelry box was constructed from a single board, ensuring that the color, grain, and curl were consistent throughout the chest.
The box bears the hallmarks of antique furniture, including hand-cut dovetails and four drawers with knobs made of solid brass. It was listed on eBay for $1,525.
13. 19th Century French Antique Cartonnage
The delicate jewelry box is great for siblings or best friends to remember each other by. It touches the heart with the image of the two ladies drawn on the surface.
It also has velvet gold trimmings on the outside and an inside mirror. This box from the early 1850s is for sale on eBay for $750.
14. Chinese Hair Jewelry, incl. Kingfisher in Lacquer Box
This black lacquer box, made between the late 1800s and the early 1900s, demonstrates rich cultural history. The surface is decorated with gold and cream-colored insects and flowers. The black lacquer box is hinged to open and close. It is listed on Liveauctioneers for $200.
15. Paul McCobb for Planner Group Jewelry Box
This minimalistic-design jewelry box gives off class and luxury. The slim case has eight tiny drawers with brass knobs. This 20th-century design, art deco style box measures 6 inches tall, 36 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. It is listed for auction on Liveauctioneers for $250.
16. French Gilt Art Nouveau Nude Bronze Jewel Box
This is truly a work of art. The French Jugendstil bronze jewel box depicting a nude woman sitting on a water lily blossom will make it a great tabletop piece. It is listed on Invaluable for $440.
17. French Art Deco Blue Opaline & Bronze Dresser Box
This hinged lid box is perfect to sit on a dresser. It adds a beautiful pop of color to the space, as its ombre opaline blue is serene and royal. The French Art Deco blue opaline and bronze dresser box is listed on Liveauctioneers for $325.
18. Baby Angel Cherubim Bronze Jewelry Box Urn
This bronze urn jewelry box features a baby angel cherubim sitting on a petal design atop the lid, as well as beautifully curved handles and stands. It can be purchased on Invaluable for $350.
19. Enamel & Bronze Jewelry Box
This bronze spherical jewelry box designed for trinkets and jewelry is patterned with colorful metal in floral designs and is listed on Liveauctioneers for $600.
Where to Buy and Sell Antique Jewelry Boxes
Numerous trustworthy online antique stores can help you compare prices and assist you in buying and selling lovely vintage jewelry boxes. Here are a few top-rated sites for your collecting vintage jewelry boxes:
eBay is well-known as an online auction site. Goods are priced at the discretion of the sellers, who attract customers from all over the world. Vintage items sold here are mostly pre-owned and sold by individuals, with prices varying depending on the condition of the piece you wish to buy.
Etsy is another prominent online auction website. It is an online marketplace where people buy and sell one-of-a-kind items from various categories. After negotiating a fair price, buyers and sellers can close deals on vintage and antique items.
This is an auction platform where collectors can participate in live bidding on different items. If you wish to research and compare the prices of previously sold pieces, you can also do so on their website.
Invaluable is an online auction site that specializes in auctioning off fine art, collectibles, and antiques of all kinds. They make it available to collectors by collaborating with auction houses or galleries to sell their pieces.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Tell if My Jewelry Box is Valuable?
Having a professional appraise your jewelry box is the easiest and most reliable way to determine its worth. You can find out for yourself by closely inspecting the manufacturer’s mark to see if the manufacturer was well-known and inspecting it for wear, tear, and other damages.
What Were Vintage Jewelry Boxes Made Of?
In the 1900s, jewelry boxes were made with all kinds of metal, like silver, copper, and ivory enamel. Other unusual materials used include wood, bone, bakelite, ceramic shells, glass, and pebbles.
How Do I Properly Clean My Vintage Jewelry Box?
Separate the velvet and use a lint roller to clean the jewelry box’s interior. Then, dry the surface with a damp, soapy rag. For the exterior, use a dry cloth to remove dust and dirt before wiping it down with a damp cloth. Use a vinegar solution to clean the jewelry box’s glass surfaces.
Antique jewelry boxes are stunning works of art made by talented artisans. Their various styles each possess a unique beauty.
These boxes tell the stories of people who have used them to save valuable items in the past, and as an antique collector, all of these details make the pieces more collectible.
Jewelry boxes can be found on the antique market for a wide range of prices, making them affordable for anyone searching for suitable storage for their valuables. If you have any questions, kindly leave them in the comments section.