…From the Chest at the Foot of Her Bed
Once or twice a year she’d say, “come with me,” and she’d take me by the hand and lead me to her bedroom. I’d sit on the pillows, waiting as she opened the large wooden chest at the foot of her bed. I remember the smell of the cedar as it opened, and the scent of the lavender sachets she kept amongst the scarves and shawls that always came out just before the jewelry boxes.
Then, she’d lift out the boxes, one by one, and set them before me…
And my little eyes grew wide with excitement.
She had hand carved wooden jewelry boxes that looked as if they’d come from a treasure ship, and she had small trinket boxes made of metal and crystal and one that looked like a Faberge egg. She also had jewelry cases that were long and delicate, covered in red velvet and lined with yellow satin. Some were old gift boxes with the name of the jewelry shop etched or stamped on the lid.
There was also a burgundy leather jewelry chest that was lined in blue velvet, and that was where anything diamond or sparkly was stored. There were other curious jewelry storage boxes, one was all white and held her wedding jewels. She called that one her white jewelry armoire and it had hundreds of tiny compartments for rings.
Another odd thing she brought out was a series of Belgian chocolate boxes that had been converted into nests for earrings and rings and pendants. And there were also polka dot hat boxes where she kept small hats, hat pins, large brooches and zillions of smaller jewelry bags filled with bangles and bracelets and larger necklaces that didn’t fit in her other jewel chests.
She also had three musical jewelry boxes, one that played an old French tune and two ballerina jewelry boxes, although one of the ballerinas no longer danced. It had been hers when she was a little girl and she´d sometimes hum the song it used to play.
There were also other things, not boxes at all, but rolled silk jewelry pouches she’d used for travel when she was younger – when she´d traveled by ship.
The pouches were tatty now…
…with frayed gold threads near where the little loops attached to antique earrings.
As I sat on the bed with the jewelry displays unfolding before my eyes, it couldn’t have been better than if I had entered a secret cave and had been shown treasure chests laden with gemstones and pearl earrings and diamonds and ruby rings…oh, yes, it was even better…
… because the jewelry was all mine for an hour or two.
That was my introduction to jewelry and jewelry boxes and the fine art of jewelry storage that began at the tender age of 3 and continued until I was about 12. There wasn’t a security safe or a combination lock, or a bank vault involved, just a huge chest with a rusty key, a soft comfy bed and my mama and me.
As I combed through the contents of these mysterious boxes, I discovered pieces I liked more than others. At that age I had no idea of the value of gold or diamonds or sapphires or the difference between a sparkling cubic zirconia ring and a diamond solitaire, I merely judged the jewelry based on what I liked, what stirred something inside me, and not on a price tag.
I will never know if the items I chose were real or fake, priceless or worthless, because our bedside jewelry adventures ended tragically and abruptly when I was 12, but…I will never forget my favorite jewels…a set of sapphire earrings and a pendant with a Chinese temple finely etched into the backside of the stones.
I was only allowed to wear them once, and I discovered the earrings weren’t very comfy because they had the old screw-on backs…that was before I had my ears pierced. But I remained enchantment with the carved sapphire stones and the Chinese motif…perhaps it foreshadowed my path that would one day lead me to China…but that was yet many, many years away…
My own collection of Jewelry Boxes
I now have my own collection of hat boxes and silken bags that fit inside a chest, where trinket boxes and jewelry gift boxes slide inside armoires, inside wooden jewelry boxes, inside trunks and await my own visits from time to time.
Although I love to collect earrings, rings, bracelets and all the jewelry I can from around the world… collecting the boxes has been as much fun as gathering the jewelry they contain.
The first thing I ever purchased with my own money (meaning my allowance) was a box – cardboard with bamboo edges and fabric lining. I used it to hold all things precious to me, which meant my pens and paper for writing and my little set of bracelets. I was about 5. The second thing I bought was actually two things but I bought them on the same day – a clay pot and a canvas to paint on.
The third thing ever purchased was a set of deep sea dive equipment to scuba in the Caribbean when I was 8. That list of initial purchases still reflect my priorities –boxes for jewelry and writing implements, painting on clay and canvas and international adventure. So, jewelry and all things beautiful and ancient + writing + painting and photographing + adventure …and I became a cultural journalist….
Antique Jewelry Chests from Macau
Traveling as a journalist, I’ve stumbled upon some of the most magnificent antique jewelry boxes, like, the one from a small street merchant in Macau. His wooden jewelry boxes and jewelry chests had each been found (after much searching) in old abandoned country houses in mainland China.
The ancient wood was later polished and the insides lined with satin or velvet, but all the hardware, like the front closures and back hinges were all original iron or steel forged by hand.
Each chest or box had a unique peg style closure with an iron loop where the little peg passed through. Others had a lock with an ancient Chinese key, but in some cases the keys were missing. Because of the humidity in Asia, the wood remained supple and lovely while I was there, these past 9 years, but when I brought my jewelry boxes to Europe, one of them became so dry during the winter that it cracked. I have repeatedly rubbed it with olive oil, and slowly, the wood is repairing itself and growing accustomed to European dryness. (Perhaps my jewelry cases are getting accustomed to living without humidity but my skin liked the tropics better!)
Marble Jewelry Boxes
In Agra, India I also acquired some jewelry boxes made of marble, some were round, only large enough to hold one single ring (a platinum band), another, a complete jewelry chest with inlayed marble motifs to mimic the walls of Mumtaz Mahal’s burial mausoleum, the Taj Mahal. That’s where I store my 50, or so, hand made mother of pearl inlay bangles and bracelets and where the silver anklets I wore in Benares (Varanasi) have come to rest.
This reminds me of the merchant with the red hand-painted jewelry and bindi (Indian red forehead dot) boxes in the market along the Ganges River. Some of his boxes could be confused as vases because they had spiral tops like the spires of a pagoda. The boxes were round and more like pots – it seems there needed to be another word for them instead of Jewelry BOX, they were anything but boxy.
Real Tibetan Yak Bone Boxes
One of my favorite jewelry boxes is the series of intricate metal boxes from Tibet, inlayed with coral and turquoise stones, more decorative than the jewelry inside. Tibetan boxes are often not square, but oval or round or long and saddle shaped. They are also often made from leather – yak hides or even yak bone. It’s difficult to find true Tibetan jewel boxes these days.
Unfortunately, most of the boxes called Tibetan have Chinese motifs and not the colorful Tibetan designs that tend to be more floral with more orange, yellow and saffron than red, and also the Tibetan texts that were often inscribed inside Tibetan jewelry boxes are now done in Chinese (which has nothing to do with Tibetan script).
Taiwanese Wedding Cake Jewel Boxes
I also have a series of boxes and tins that didn’t begin their lives intending to hold jewelry, but were wedding cake boxes that have become a tradition at Taiwanese marriages. These intricate, and elaborately decorated boxes, are often red, or variations of red, because it’s good fortune to begin married life with red (not white) – because white is the color for death not marital bliss and prosperity. After the yummy cake is all eaten up, about two weeks after a wedding, you’re left with a set of perfect jewelry boxes, some of them even have little shelves and are organized (for cake and cookies) exactly the way you’d need them for rings and earrings and chains. They’re often lined with velvet or red silk, too! When I was in Taiwan, I loved to get wedding invitations because I was assured to come home with a fantastic new box for my jewels.
Museum Replicas of Ancient Jewel Boxes
It’s unquestionable that jewelry cases and jewelry storage and all that pertains to boxing or packaging of anything precious has long been beautifully done by Asian people. In the National Palace Museum in Taipei (with the world’s largest collection of Chinese art, artifacts, porcelain and Historic Chinese Everything) the first time I went, I was surprised to see disposable jewel cases and boxes in stacking sets very much like the ones the Chinese companies manufacture today (only these ones were never disposed of) and are now more than a thousand years old, behind glass, in a museum.
Naturally, many of the Chinese jewelry boxes were porcelain or jade, and the very coolest thing is that the museum reproduces replicas and sells them in their gift shop along with replicas of ancient Chinese jewelry pieces (in real gold, jade and gemstones). To have a peak, you can visit the National Palace Museum Taipei website, or go there for a visit.
Chinese Gift Boxes
As I’ve said, some of the most ancient jewelry gift boxes and wooden chests, made of gold and silver or carved totally from jade, or inlayed with precious gems, were the boxes for imperial stamps and seals and for the jewelry of the ladies of the court and the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Chinese have been making intricate boxes for gifts and storage since before the west had jewels to store. It is not an accident that a vast majority of the decorative wooden boxes, watch boxes or valet boxes, as well as keepsake and ring boxes, and beautifully carved wooden jewelry boxes come from, or are made in, China.
Although it is now an industry that offers the world wholesale boxes and jewelry cases for private or commercial jewelry displays, the fact remains that Asia has been creating storage systems in all shapes and sizes for thousands of years, even as simple boxes made of rice paper, covered in silk, encrusted with gems or simply painted with ink. Others are jewelry cases forged in metal, carved in wood, chiseled from precious stones or molded from pure gold, or formed from clay and backed to porcelain – boxes that became jewelry for tables and ladies’ dressers, not just a security safe in which to store gems.
Travel Accessories Bags
Now, as people have become more and more mobile, and women travel with their jewelry, accessories bags, jewelry pouches, jewelry handbags, portable jewelry cases, jewelry travel bag, jewelry roll bag or even a drawstring jewelry bag, have almost totally replaced the heavy wooden jewellery boxes and jewel cases of days gone by.
I still like the idea of arriving at a sea port with huge wooden chests, but carrying them round is quite another matter. Naturally, to me, the scenes in Out of Africa, when Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) arrives with millions of chests and boxes filled with china and crystal and all sorts of beautiful ornaments to create a life on a coffee plantation in Kenya, is highly attractive, but simply not practical these days!
Mens Valet Boxes
And then there are the jewellery cases and boxes for men. This may seem like a new idea, but in fact jewelry storage, long ago, was most needed by the MEN (not women), by emperors and kings who adorned themselves for ceremonies and even for warriors and knights who prepared for battle. And although men no longer need battle jewelry or armor, and seldom wear lace and jewelry as the Scarlet Pimpernel might have done, most men have cufflinks, watches, rings (or at least a wedding ring) and sometimes quite an array of jewels they need to store.
These boxes are sometimes wooden jewelry boxes similar to the ones ladies use, only less ornate perhaps, with leather or simple wood carvings. These are often referred to as valet boxes. There are some that are specifically designed for mens watches and of course are called watch boxes. These often include trays for specific types of watches and an area for rings and other trinkets or keepsakes. Some men also have “special boxes” that may have at one time been for chocolates or cigar boxes or even wine or wooden whisky cases.
There’s a simple mens cufflink box that’s called the Dulwich Brown Leather 15 Piece Cufflink Box, which is funky with orange lining. It’s very big, and won’t due for watches, but it’s affordable and available at Amazon. There’s also another inexpensive storage system for mens items, the Dulwich Leather Watch and Cufflink Box that is compact enough to be a portable travel case.
Mens jewelry boxes can be highly specialized cases, primarily this is true for watches. Since men may have several watches, or even be watch collectors, a watch box specific to the type of watches he loves may be appropriate. Men, typically, don’t have as many accessories as women, other than men’s ties (which can be kept neatly in tie boxes or chests or even hat boxes), leaving watches as the primary source of mens jewelry. There are types of boxes that will keep manual watches wound like the Hartford Watch Winder, and most security vaults will have a watch winding feature as an add-on.
Another choice might be the Dulwich Leather Watch Box and Triple Winder, which is a luxurious handcrafted leather box that holds 8 watches and keeps them wound with a triple watch rotator. It runs on batteries or regular power. Less expensive, yet classy, is the 3 Compartment Leather Watch Box, which is a sleek black leather watch box with space for 3 watches, a glass lid and a soft cream interior with gold colored accents. (This one does not wind the watches.)
I recently discovered that my husband has a wooden jewelry box (by recently I mean TODAY). It’s a beautifully hand carved wooden box, and when I asked if I could open it, he smiled, yes, and when I peeked inside I was delighted to see a pair of cufflinks, a watch, and all the little presents and notes I had given him over the past 3 years. I know he has at least two other boxes, trinket boxes or small jewelry chests; but he keeps them secreted away with the cherished items he’s collected throughout his life…perhaps one day I’ll be invited to have a peek in them too.
Jewelry Cabinets on a Yacht
How could I write about jewelry cases without telling about the fabulous women who lived on a yacht? She wasn’t famous or exceptionally wealthy (perhaps just a little rich), but she and her husband had sold their house and business and put everything they had into their yacht and travelled around the world. I met her as she sipped a fizzy mineral water and lemon on the dock of a marina near Belize…it was sweltering hot and all she wore was a wraparound cotton dress over her tan and dirty bare feet.
As we talked and got to know each other during the months to follow, she eventually told me she liked to know she could dress well if they arrived at a port where there was fine dinning, an opera or theatre. Some time later, she took me to her yacht and showed me her closet, which was larger than the kitchen and dinning area where I lived on land. It was a walk in closet all made of cherry wood or something like it, with shelves for scarves and shawls and more shelves for high heel shoes and drawers for belts and all her gorgeous accessories. Along one wall was everything jewelry related – a jewelry holder built onto the wall like a small tree from which hung earrings and necklaces she used most frequently, and below that were jewelry cabinets made of cherry wood, and in each drawer was a different set of items – what looked like ruby rings, emerald rings, opals, onyx, gold and silver jewelry to make your eyes pop out.
That was just her costume jewelry, she said, the real stuff was in their home security safes built into the floor – actually a ship security safe specific for jewellery storage. She showed me a few of the pieces in the safe – some raw diamonds from Africa, some Dominican blue amber earrings, a pink sapphire ring that had been a family heirloom and some strands of real pearls. I think it was the only time I had ever touched natural pearls – different from cultural pearls because they tend to be less perfect and yet more luminous. I’m sure they were not the Baroda Pearls (worth about $7 million), but they were mighty fine nonetheless.
After a few months she and her husband set sail for another port, and I continued my journey as well. But about 6 months later, I bumped into her at a cocktail party in Panama, and the dirty barefoot lady from Belize was only recognizable by her tan. Her once bare feet were perfectly clad in delicate strappy high-heeled jeweled sandals and the rest of her was dripping in sparkling gems.
Jewelry storage Guide
Jewelry boxes are the general term used for all things in which we keep our jewelry organized, but are so vastly different in shape and size and appearance that it would require a catalogue to explain all the different kinds. Some are wooden jewelry boxes carved or plain, some are metal or crystal or simply cardboard with a fabric lining. The thing they all have in common is that they all in one way or another offer protection for gemstones and jewels be they imitation or genuine.
It’s important to protect jewelry, especially amber which is sensitive to light and air and oil on our hands. And pearls (organic gemstones) which are highly sensitive to almost everything from acid to alkaline, perspiration, alcohol , perfume, fruit juice, vinegar, detergent, soap, water, and even to subtle changes in the level of humidity in the air, and being naturally soft (a 3.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale) may be damaged accidentally if not properly stored. Yet even the hardier stones and metals need a place to rest between wearing, and jewelry boxes are ideal. The thing that we need to remember is to put away our rings and bracelets and necklaces CLEAN. I find it useful to have a soft cloth (an eyeglass cleaner is perfect) inside my jewelry chest to give my jewelry a little wipe before I put them away.
If you want to care for your jewelry before storage, you can follow this simple guide:
Coral, pearls and amber are soft so just dry-wipe and store them away from air and light.
Opals and turquoise can be washed, but like air to breathe, so store in cloth jewelry bags and then in your box – do not wrap in plastic or cellophane.
Rubies and emeralds are strong in general but have probably been treated either with heat to bring out their color or coated with resin to fill cracks and imperfections, so don’t clean with chemicals – wipe gently and store.
Sapphires, peridot and diamonds can be cleaned more vigorously even with ammonia. Dry well and store.
Jewelry chests and boxes should be lined with fabric to protect your jewelry, and if not, you should place your individual items in small jewelry bags.
- If you have children in the house, it is a good idea to have a jewelry storage system that locks or securely closes because gemstones and silver and gold and little dangling or sparkling earrings and bracelets and rings are very attractive as toys. Children may not intend to harm either the jewelry or themselves but may end up doing both. It is best to keep your earrings, rings, necklaces, delicate chains, loose gemstones and other small items under lock and key so that when it’s an appropriate moment, you can invite your son or daughter to see your collection under supervision, that way it will not only be safe but a special moment you both can share.
Home Security Safes for Jewelry
If you have heirlooms or family jewelry that is precious for sentimental reasons and is also monetarily valuable, you may want to seriously consider a small home security safe. In it you can store valuables, documents and the special pieces of jewelry that you may not wear frequently. The other option is to keep genuine gemstone jewelry and diamonds in a security deposit box at your bank.
Most often you will have a key and can retrieve it any time the bank is open. With this option you will have to plan ahead if you want to wear your jewels. Jewelry security boxes and safes that are built into the wall of your home or are stand alone units can be quite reasonably priced. Some high security luxury safes and vaults for jewelry are designed similar to jewelry cabinets or large jewelry chests, with a gem door mounted necklace rack , watch winders, ultra-suede shelves, drawers, an Interior light, biometric entry though fingerprint recognition and many other features for as little as $3,000.
When to Store Your Jewelry
Class rings, promise rings, eternity rings and all those special sentimental rings, including wedding bands and engagement rings are usually on our fingers and not in storage. But that’s not always the case. During pregnancy, when women’s fingers may swell, during an illness, or when travelling abroad, it is best to leave these unique jewelry items in a chest or keepsake box so you will know where they are.
Placing wedding rings in a kitchen tea cup or a tin beside the flour isn’t the best choice. A jewelry case, where we can also store other small mementos and keepsakes is not a luxury; it’s a necessity, even if you make it yourself. A small polished wood jewelry box or a little leather box or even a fabric jewelry bag can suffice. But if they’re not on fingers, have a place that’s safe to store them so that when you can again wear your rings or gems they’ll be there waiting for you. And don’t forget that most wedding rings and bands that are lost or ‘misplaced’ are in fact sliding along sewer pipes. So, do yourself a favor, slip off your rings and have a little box near the kitchen basin to not lose them down the drain (or at least wear some gloves).
Musical Jewelry Boxes for Kids
For children a musical box will always be a timeless gift, even for a boy. I often remember the scene in the movie Seven Years in Tibet, when the young Dalai Lama received a music box and was fascinated by it, and later gave it to Heinrich Harrer, who in tern presented it as a gift to his son. Boxes that play music and hold jewelry or trinkets or keepsakes are not just the girl’s boxes with a ballerina.
Music is universal and children love musical jewelry boxes at all ages – even 40 or 50 or 80. There are now some chiming keepsake boxes with an angel or a small spinning carousel or Christmas jewelry boxes that play holiday music. Naturally the classic ballerina musical jewelry box will forever be a favorite with young ladies.
Girls Boxes – for Girly Girls and Tom Boys
Girls jewelry boxes can be elegant and grown up or with pink princess themes or designed as crystal Cinderella slippers or even cuddly cute cartoon or film characters. A small trinket box is almost always a good gift choice for a girl – but I know one little girl who doesn’t care for jewelry, yet she loves to get keepsake boxes to organize her millions of stickers.
There are even tom boy themes like the Tommy Boy’s Trunk which works well for boys and none-girly girls. There is also a very versatile box for boys and girls called the Creativity for Kids Mosaic Jewelry Box (which is available through Amazon) and is like a game. The kit comes with a plain white jewelry box and 300 sparkling mosaic acrylic tiles that children can stick on with glitter grout and craft glue to make whatever style jewelry box they desire.
For inexpensive really girly girl box ideas, here are a few suggestions: Disney Fairies Musical paperwrap jewelry box, is rectangular, in lavender, blue-purple and pink colors, and comes with a picture frame. The whole set costs less than $10. And there’s the Musical Ballerina Oblong Jewellery Box, all pink with hearts and a ballerina on the lid, is less than $8.
And for a dainty young lady there’s the elegant little Chrome Wire & Glass Butterfly Design Jewellery Box that also includes an oval mirror, and although it’s pink, the box looks like onyx and the chrome wire that twist around the jewellery drawer is very delicate chrome. And for the Hanna Montana fans there’s a simple keepsake box that’s called the Disney Hannah Montana Musical Jewel Box which is a large heart shaped box in pink, lavender and soft blue with Hanna Montana on the lid. These boxes are all very affordable and can be shipped to you from Amazon.
For a twist on boxes, here’s a great idea: a jewel case and handbag combo such as the Dark Purple Handbag Jewellery Box by Pink Heart that is a trinket box as well and can sit on a dresser or be toted about. It comes in light and dark purple.
Jewelry Cases for the Ladies
When you think of giving a piece of jewelry to a lady, you may want to consider giving it in a gift box that can double as a jewelry case after the gift has been opened. Many women have lots of jewelry, and from personal experience, I know that often a new piece doesn’t fit in my well ordered series of boxes. When I receive a ring or a set of earrings already in its own case I am delighted, and usually find a way to get two or three pieces to fit into my new little jewelry box before long.
For the ladies that have everything, an antique jewelry box from some exotic place could be just the gift. It may be difficult to buy the right ring or earrings or bracelets for someone, but a box is quite another matter. Even a small hand painted box you make yourself will probably end up on a dressing table. Consider some unusual options like Chinese antique jewelry boxes, or an Indian bone or marble box or ordering a totally handmade, unique box from a place like Appalachian Spring who have things you’ve probably never seen like the Wave Box or the Bow Box from Kellam Studios. (They also have a magnificent selection of high quality wooden valet boxes.)
For something colorful and practical, there’s the Boutique Large Red Crocodile Jewellery Box that’s a red glossy croc embossed PU leather box with black suedette lining and a heart shaped padlock, and comes with a lift out tray and a ring roll. This portable travel style jewelry case is inexpensive and can be ordered online.
Boxes for Coins and Buttons and Keys
Boxes for jewelry need not be used for gems and jewels and rings and pearls, in fact, I have a box for coins and money from around the world, and another for keys, old ones and new ones. In fact I think so many people put keys in jewelry boxes that there should be a new style of box called key boxes. I also know a lady who keeps more buttons in her jewel box than earrings…anyway, be it keys, buttons, coins, gemstones or watches there’s a box just right for all your storage and keepsake needs.
However if you’re a serious coin collector there are coin boxes designed for that purpose. Although I’ve been unable to find a specific button box I have found a box of buttons that unfortunately comes with 400 plastic buttons in 11 different colors and the whole kit costs 19.99. This doesn’t help much because in my head a button box is a place I put the buttons that fall off my own clothes and where I keep them until I have time to sew them back on, or where they stay and end up being sewn onto something else.
And as far as key boxes goes, well there’s a million of them out there, but they’re mostly for key storage, like a ‘key safe’, or something for car rental companies. What I’m talking about is a pretty box that sits by the door and I put my keys in when I come and go, or the box I put keys that I find along my travels, or antique keys that happen to come into my possession or all those little suitcase keys that need a place to rest between travels. That’s the kind of Key Box I’m talking about.
Jewelry Box Quality
When buying jewelry boxes, be careful to check for quality construction. Hinges should be sturdy and clasps and locks should work smoothly. There isn’t anything as annoying as receiving a gift box that’s delicate and delightful and falls apart after opening a few times. A jewel box or a keepsake box or jewelry case is intended to protect and keep your precious items safe, so check the details to be sure it will last. Especially so for children’s musical jewelry boxes and theme boxes that are often cute but poorly made. It’s exasperating for a child to have to throw away a gift.
Spend the extra time to check that the interior lining is nicely finished, not with glue gobs stuck to the fabric, and that the velvet is smoothly placed over the wood. If the jewelry box is large, and contains compartments or drawers, be sure that they open or slide easily and don’t get stuck or jammed, or if made of cardboard, check that it won’t collapse too quickly. Also ensure that the tiny knobs are secure and that screws are not loose. If the jewelry box or keepsake case has a lock and key, check that the key is included and that it fits the lock.
Where to Buy Jewelry Boxes
Jewelry boxes are available for sale at many places such as jewelry shops, online retailers, catalogue companies, craft supply centers and even stationers. Since they are considered an accessory they are often found together with womens and girls accessories, scarves, shawls, nylons, pantyhose, belts, handbags, purses and nail and manicure supplies. Perhaps because there are jewelry boxes that are perfect for cosmetics and nail art supplies, they can sometimes be found near ladies cosmetics. And since children may use them for pencils and stickers, they are also displayed with stationary and stickers in some department stores.
Naturally, the best ones will come from a jewelry store or an online specially store. There are many unique shops with boxes for jewels that will deliver to your door. Amazon has a huge selection, but if you want something really unique you can try some smaller places like Vyshyvanka Ukrainian Gifts or Wooden Innovations who have some curious items like the Samurai Jewelry Box and their version of a Trinket Box (which looks somewhat like an inverted mushroom) and has a handcrafted Sycamore wood body and a round Bolivian rosewood top.
Wooden Jewelry Boxes
Many high quality jewelry boxes are made by carpenters; many Amish furniture builders specialize in jewelry cabinets and storage boxes for jewelry and are of high quality. Wood jewelry boxes are one of the best choices and offer the most style varieties since they can be lined with satin or velvet or have sponge bases that are then overlaid with leather or fabric.
The wood boxes are also great because they often have drawers or small trays that can be pulled out layer by layer to view the items you wish to use more easily. Some have slots for rings and hooks for chains and earrings. This is important if you have a lot of different jewelry and don’t want the chains all tangled into your hoop earrings and wound through rings. Again, search for some unique designs like the ones at Wooden Innovations or from Amish carpenters who make very fine wooden jewelry boxes and chests that will last a lifetime.
Free Standing Jewelry Armoire
If you have a lot of jewelry and lots of chains and earrings, it may be good to consider a jewelry armoire or a cabinet that stands alone. There is one totally exquisite piece of furniture for jewelry safe keeping that is made by Louis Philippe called the Cherry Jewelry Armoire. It should hold everything you need to store. This is not a jewelry box; it’s a total jewelry storage system in a beautiful piece of cherry wood furniture. The top is like a dressing table and looks great with a mirror over it. There are models similar to the cherry jewelry armoire in maple, oak and pine.
There are also wooden hand painted jewelry armoires that have an classic antique feel. The great thing about armoires is that they have doors that open and you can stand and view your necklaces and chains and earrings on hooks and with a mirror right there you can check which piece looks right with your outfit.
There is also a good armoire called the Gold & Silver Safekeeper Anti-Tarnish Jewelry Armoire by Lori Greiner, which helps preserve jewelry because of a special lining that prevents tarnish. It also comes with a jewelry organizer, replete with cubbies, hooks, drawers, and compartments that is said to keep silver jewelry from tarnishing for up to 25 years. It’s also a stand alone unit and is reasonably priced at under $200.
On the other extreme is an antique imitation Jewelry Armoire from Neiman Marcus that is just under $2000, but wow! What a beautiful chest all made from antiqued mirrored glass and gold/silver leafing over a hardwood frame, with six huge drawers and lots of organizing features. This is a stunning jewelry armoire if you can afford it.