If you are a jewelry aficionado and you enjoy the added class and sophistication it gives your everyday outfits, then you might be in search of the perfect jewelry box for your needs. Luckily, there is a wide range of jewelry boxes available, suited for all preferences. Be its efficient storage, protection for your pieces that fall on the more expensive side or simply decorative, there are enough models to complement all tastes.
However, given the available variety, one could feel nauseated and intimidated when beginning their journey of finding the desired jewelry box. Here is a guide to help you in making an informed purchase.
But first, let’s see what all the fuss is about. Where did it all start?
A short history of jewelry boxes
Also called “jewelry caskets”, jewelry boxes date back as far as the Stone Age. Of course, throughout history, jewelry was itself considered a luxury, and thus jewelry boxes were needed only by the wealthy, who used them to keep important documents safe and protected, alongside jewelry. The original boxes were great pieces of furniture, usually not bigger than a small wooden chest.
It was the industrial revolution that made them mainstream, as it finally became possible for them to be mass produced at relatively low prices and in smaller sizes, in factories. Still, many of the older jewelry boxes were kept and sometimes even restored, now being displayed in various museum and castles. Antique collectors can find old unique jewelry boxes that are being sold today.
Why you should own a jewelry box
It is possible that since you are reading this, you have probably made up your mind about investing in a jewelry box. But just in case you are having second thoughts, here are some obvious and some less obvious reasons as to why everyone with a jewelry collection should own a jewelry box.
First of all, one could look at jewelry boxes as a way of mixing business and pleasure: they get the job done, as they protect and store your pieces of jewelry, but they are also fun and aesthetically pleasing objects to own. You should be proud of having a nice jewelry box on display, because they are sure to add a whole new decorative dimension to your table or dresser.
When traveling, a small jewelry box is the handiest way of making sure the pieces you have chosen to wear on your trip are safe and all in one place. The same box will ensure they don’t get damaged by potential bad handling at the airport. Moreover, you should not look at your jewelry box as something adjacent to your jewelry collection, but rather as a defining element of it. In the end, it is what gives you collection an actual look, feel and structure. One could even argue that a pile of jewelry is not an actual collection, in the absence of a place to display it and its finesse. A good jewelry box is a universal solution to all those issues.
Classification and description of jewelry boxes
As said before, there are numerous types of jewelry boxes. This wide range of types can be classified by multiple criteria, such as use, size, material, and so on. The following is a list of the various types of jewelry boxes, with a short description of each type.
#1. Ring boxes
As the name suggests, ring boxes are boxes that are especially designed to store and protect rings. We can find a great variety of sizes with this type of box, ranging from some that can only hold one ring to those with several rows of slots that can store over 20 rings. For these bigger ones, their design is usually slim and narrow, but longer. Inside, they have a row or multiple parallel rows, with slots to keep the rings upright.
These rows and slots are usually lined with velvet or other soft fabrics, which serve a double purpose: on the one hand, they protect the rings from scratches and damage due to shocks or mishandling, and on the other hand, they polish each ring individually when inserting them into the slot and when extracting them to be worn.
This is a perfect option for people who have extensive ring collections and want to ensure good protection and maintenance to their pieces.
#2. Necklace boxes
Necklace boxes can come in various shapes, sizes and materials, but they all tend to have a common feature: they contain hooks. These hooks are a very practical and simple way to keep your necklaces apart from each other and hanging, rather than having them sit in a large clump inside a drawer. They are the best way to prevent tangles and ensure that your necklaces remain in the good state.
Some of them are shaped like a flat, square or rectangular box. When you open the hinged lid, these are similar to a tray that comes with universal boxes. The interior is lined with soft fabric, usually velvet or satin. However, when compared to trays, the most striking difference is the presence of those hooks, which make them perfect for people with large necklace collections.
Also, they tend to have a bump in the middle, in order to increase the surface on which your pieces can lay. Another common type of necklace box is one that contains multiple trays, which are displayed either horizontally or vertically. When you pull out the trays, you reveal the interior which includes hooks. Some of these do not have a soft fabric lining.
#3. Watch boxes
Watch boxes are something you would find in a man’s wardrobe, as watches are one of few ways men can accessorize their outfits. Watch boxes vary in size: some can only hold a couple watches, while others have dozens of slots, on multiple levels. They are typically made of wood or leather to give them a manlier look, while the inside is covered in smooth materials, such as silk or leather, since their purpose is to protect from scratches and cracks. Most watch boxes have durable glass lids, so the watches can be kept safe, as well as on display.
Of course, there are watch boxes for women as well. Their interior structure is very similar, if not identical to that of men’s watch boxes, but their exterior is usually more colorful and soft. The decorative quality of these is much more prominent, since men’s jewelry boxes are usually very somber.
#4. Earring boxes
Earring boxes are usually designed in such a way as to solve the main problem people have with pairs of earrings: actually keeping the two earrings together. Earring boxes vary greatly in size: some are made particularly for a single pair of earrings, while some can hold up to 20 or more.
Single-pair boxes are usually small and square, with a detachable or hinged lid. To keep the earrings in place, these use mostly two systems. On one hand, they can have a piece of cardboard or some other rigid material lined with soft fabric that has two small holes in it for the earrings. On the other hand, they can have a small, soft pillow in which you can secure your earrings.
The larger earring boxes are made up of small, square compartment in which you can place your pairs of earrings. Others contain rows of small hooks on which your earrings are secured. However, these work best for pin type earrings. Both these jewelry boxes usually have hinged glass lids, in order to keep your items on display.
#5. Bracelet boxes
Bracelet boxes can usually hold a single bracelet. They are long and slim and are usually made of cardboard or leather. For decorative purposes, they can have ribbons on the lids, which are usually detachable, though bracelet boxes with hinged tops are not unusual. On the inside, they are lined with leather or velvet to protect the bracelet, and, to keep it in place, they have elastic bands or ribbons at both ends.
#6. Bangle boxes
As opposed to bracelet boxes, bangle boxes are usually designed to hold several bangles. They are usually relatively big square or rectangle boxes that have hinged lids. Inside, they contain multiple parallel rolls on which the bangles are placed. This way, the bangles lay naturally, as they would on a wrist. For visibility, some bangle boxes come with glass lids. However, the ones that have an opaque lid tend to include a mirror on the inside. Most bangle boxes are very decorative, as they are either carved or covered in oriental patterns. Some of them are lined with velvet.
There are also bangle boxes of a cylindrical shape. These contain a single roll and they are usually made of lighter materials such as leather or cardboard. For these, the top unrolls off the side of the box, allowing a look inside. Of course, there are also individual bangle boxes, in which the bangle either lays flat or is inserted vertically into a slot, keeping it upright.
#7. Gift Jewelry Boxes
Gift jewelry boxes are mainly individual boxes. They are made of cardboard or plastic, and their interior structure varies depending on the type of jewelry they is meant for.
Gift jewelry boxes have either detachable or hinged tops and they are usually very simple in design: one or two colors at most and a simple and slim ribbon on the lid. Of course, these are not intended as main storage for a jewelry collection, but rather as nice packaging for a jewelry item that is to be offered as a gift.
Their interior lined with soft materials makes sure that the jewelry is not damaged by any negligent handling and that the gift remains as good as new.
#8. Postal Jewelry Boxes
These boxes are very similar to gift jewelry boxes, but here the focus shifts from decorative and aesthetically pleasing to practical. Since they are used to mail jewelry, they are made as small as possible, while still keeping their purpose of adequately storing and protecting the items.
Their smaller size and lighter design allows for cheaper shipping fees. However, even though the main design goal here is to be as practical as possible, they still offer some decorative perks, as they come in a large variety of colors. Just like with gift jewelry boxes, their interior structure is different, depending on the type of jewelry they are meant for.
#9. Keepsake boxes
There are some jewelry boxes that are smaller in size, made of wood, usually with a single compartment and that catch the eye especially for their decorative yet simple designs. These are called keepsake boxes and they are used to store small items that people attribute sentimental value to. With their highly decorative look, their purpose is to be placed in plain sight. So, if you need to store some pieces that are on the more expensive side, avoid putting them inside these small boxes. Their interior is not lined with any sort of protective layer of fabric, therefore it is better not to store delicate pieces here either.
#10. Cufflink boxes
Cufflink boxes vary greatly in size, from boxes that are designed to hold a single pair of cufflinks to boxes that can hold 20 or more. Individual pair cufflink boxes seem to be a mix between a bracelet box and an earring box: usually square, made of plastic, hinged lid, velvet-lined interior and two elastic bands to keep the cufflinks in place.
Some of the bigger cufflink boxes resemble an earring box. They have multiple square or rectangle compartments in which pairs of cufflinks can be placed. The hinged tops are usually made of glass, for visibility and to facilitate choosing and comparing pairs without having to open the box.
Some of them have a single layer of compartments, while others have multiple trays. There are also cufflink boxes that use a system similar to that of ring boxes: they have multiple rows of slots in which cufflinks are inserted. This way, the pattern on the cufflinks is always facing up, further rendering easier the choice of the right pair.
They come mostly in black, brown or mahogany colors and are made of materials such as leather and wood. These design choices give them a manly look.
#1. Antique jewelry boxes
Antique jewelry boxes are items that are seen by many as collectables. Even though there is no rule for this, it is usually considered that for an object to be an “antique”, it must be at least 100 years old and have some historic and aesthetic significance. Antique jewelry boxes come in a wide range of sizes, from some that are chests or armoires in the true sense of the word, to some that can hold only a few items.
Their material depends on their size: the bigger ones are mostly made of wood or metal, while the smaller ones can even be made out of papier mache or glass. Antique jewelry boxes go way beyond the practical purpose of most jewelry boxes, which is to provide your jewelry collection with adequate storage and protection. They are highly decorative, with intricate carvings and designs.
They tend to be very durable, since they have already lasted so long and since they were usually specially designed and crafted for certain people. Their layout usually depends on their size as well, the antique chests and armoires have multiple compartments, drawers and trays, while the small antique boxes have one or two compartments, usually lined with colorful velvet, for a more regal look. However, bear in mind that these tend to be on the pricier side, as their value increases with their age.
#2. Vintage jewelry boxes
Seeing how we have just talked about antique jewelry boxes, it would be helpful to explain the difference between antique and vintage. As said before, antique usually means that a collectible carries some aesthetic and historic significance and is more than 100 years old.
Now, the problem with vintage is that the word carries various meanings, which can make it difficult for people to grasp the difference. However, in the realm of marketing and merchandising, the standard is that vintage refers to an object that was in fashion in a different era. Still, because that doesn’t really imply that the object was also produced in that era, experts have agreed on the loose standard that a vintage object is older than 50 years, but not older than 100 years.
Taking that difference into account, the main thing about vintage boxes is that they are cheaper than antique boxes and they have a more modern look. You can think of them as the hipster version of antique boxes. Many vintage jewelry boxes have colorful, floral designs. Some of them can resemble slightly bigger keepsake boxes, with only one compartment and a hinged lid, while others have multiple types of compartments, for different uses.
#3. Personalized jewelry boxes
Personalized jewelry boxes make amazing and thoughtful gifts for people who like to collect jewelry. They are mainly intended as keepsake boxes: quite small, they are not recommended as the main storage option for large collections, but rather as special storage for items that have sentimental value. They majority of them are made of wood, cardboard or even glass.
They can be personalized with the person’s name, a message, a relevant date or even a photo. Of course, if the box is personalized with a date, a message or a photo, it must be custom made. However, if you want to keep it simple and write only the person’s name, some merchandisers offer personalized boxes with a variety of names on them. You might just be lucky and find one with exactly the name you are looking for.
#4. Minimalist jewelry boxes
The main idea behind minimalist jewelry boxes is to eliminate any design aspect that doesn’t serve a practical purpose. Paradoxically, the result is very chic and fresh. These boxes come in simple, square or rectangle shapes and in basic yet sophisticated colors such as white, black or beige.
Their inside is kept simple as well, usually containing a simple compartment. Still, some of them like to amplify the practical aspects of a box, being highly compartmented. This allows for the optimal organization of your items. Generally, they are made of lightweight wood or plastic.
#5. Modern jewelry boxes
When you think of modern, you think of bold shapes, neutral colors, all in some sort of timeless simplicity. With modern jewelry boxes, that is not far from the truth. They come in many shapes and sizes, the main materials used being wood and plastic. Most of them have hinged tops, with a mirror on the inside.
However, those that do not include a mirror make good use of the space inside the lid by including a pouch instead. They are usually compartmented, offering storage solutions for many types of jewelry: slots for rings, small compartments for earrings, trays for necklaces, bracelets and bangles, the heftier ones even have hooks for necklaces and chains. This makes them perfect as the main storage for medium or even large collections.
Jewelry lovers who live in spaces decorated in a modern fashion should definitely consider buying a modern jewelry box, which is sure to fit in nicely with their other decorations or pieces of furniture.
#6. Faberge jewelry boxes
It is impossible for someone to look at a Faberge jewelry box and not know instantly what it is, as they are very distinct. Shaped and designed like a Faberge egg, they are very decorative and aesthetically pleasing. Made of metal, they are also very durable, but the decorations on them tend to be very fragile.
That is why they should be treated with care, not overfilled with jewelry, which could actually damage them. Of course, their shape and size do not really recommend them as jewelry storage, but rather as special decorations. Still, if you want to use them, they should be used as a place to keep a few special or unique items. Their combination of striking colors and shiny metals will give extra sophistication and class to every dresser.
There are also Faberge jewelry boxes shaped like boxes. These lend themselves better to storing more pieces, however, it is recommended that they be treated with the care they deserve. Therefore, don’t turn them into your main jewelry storage.
#7. Handmade jewelry boxes
Throughout this article, there has been a lot of talk about variety. Well, it turns out we hadn’t even scratched the surface, because the true variety comes with handmade jewelry boxes. Unusual shapes, clever designs, upcycling: everything is fair game when it comes to handmade jewelry boxes, because they represent someone’s self-expression. Made of wood or even simple cardboard boxes, these jewelry boxes are a great way to put your own creativity to use and upcycle some things you have lying around. If you find yourself in creative burnout, don’t worry: the internet is full of DIY ideas to help you figure out exactly where you want to take your artistic project.
If you want to buy a handmade jewelry box, you will be happy to hear that there are a lot of craftsmen out there who specialize in jewelry boxes. Some of them even make them custom, if you would like a personalized jewelry box. This is a great way to support local artisans, who are pursuing their craft out of passion.
By gender and age
#1. Women’s jewelry boxes
The overwhelming majority of jewelry boxes on the market are designed for women, as throughout history, they have been the main category of people who used jewelry. Women’s jewelry boxes come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. The ones that are very large, such as wall mounted boxes and jewelry chests are typically women’s boxes, because men don’t usually have such extensive and varied jewelry collections.
Other than that, they are mainly distinguishable by their look: generally, they allow for more variety in material and color than men’s boxes. Therefore, women’s boxes use more velvet, satin and other softer fabrics and their colors range from the classic and neutral black and brown to the colorful and fun pink, blue and purple.
#2. Men’s jewelry boxes
Men’s jewelry boxes are usually of small or medium size and they are typically made of wood and leather, though there are some rare boxes for men that are made of metal. The material for these allows for a more manly and rugged look, further distinguishing them from women’s jewelry boxes. Their shape also tends to be less sophisticated: the majority are square or rectangular, with a hinged top and maybe a removable tray.
As far as their layout goes, they generally contain some larger compartments, which are suited for storing whatever items one would like to store, some slots for rings and special compartments for watches and cufflinks. The ones that have watch compartments right under the lid tend to have a glass top, as to facilitate visibility and to enhance their aesthetic abilities.
#3. Children’s jewelry boxes
These jewelry boxes also tend to be on the smaller side, as children rarely have big jewelry collections to store. Like most boxes, they have a big number of specialized storage options, such as slots for rings, compartments for earrings and trays for bangles, bracelets and chains. Some even include side compartments, which come equipped with hooks to store necklaces.
They are very colorful and they are usually made of plastic or wood. Most of them are musical boxes, which play a lullaby upon opening the top lid, while a figurine, usually a ballerina, spins to the rhythm of the music. These elements make them more fun for children, who feel like a party is on every time they open up the jewelry box.