Skip to content

Cart

Your cart is empty

Article: Collecting Vintage Silver Keepsake Boxes

19th Century

Collecting Vintage Silver Keepsake Boxes

Trinket or jewelry keepsake boxes have taken on many forms since their first conception in ancient times. However their purpose remains the same; to store jewelry and other items precious to the owner. 

Originally, these boxes were used specifically for jewelry. These were in common use as early as 5000 BC in Ancient Egypt, when the majority of Egyptians, both male and female, wore jewelry. Boxes were used to keep these gemstone encrusted items safe. In Ancient Rome, rings and brooches were utilized to represent ones status in society. Boxes were needed for security and storage purposes. Finding early examples of these are quite rare. 

Victorian and Edwardian examples of trinket boxes are far more common. This is because owning jewelry was a luxury before the Victorian era- let alone possessing so much a box was needed to store it all. After the industrial revolution, fine jewelry became available to the masses due to the reduction in production costs. This led to a demand for trinket boxes, which were much smaller than jewelry boxes and therefore better suited to the needs of the middle class who did not yet possess an abundance of jewelry.

SILVER PLATED KEEPSAKE BOX, CIRCA 1900

In Victorian households, collectables and other items of interest were also stashed inside these boxes. This is why they are known as trinket or keepsake boxes, rather than just jewelry boxes. Trinket boxes were produced in large numbers around this time. Many were lined with colored plush or velvet or rich wood. More elaborate designs had interior divisions and trays for rings and other pieces of jewelry. It was also common to see trinket boxes so small that they could only contain one item, such as a single ring. Ornate exteriors were created to reflect the value of the trinket boxes contents.

HALLMARKED SILVER PLATED KEEPSAKE BOX - SHEFFIELD, UK, CIRCA 1900

The Edwardian era saw the introduction of new styles of trinket box. These included small circular or oblong boxes that stood on cabriole legs. These often featured lids made of tortoiseshell or other luxurious materials.

HALLMARKED SILVER PLATED KEEPSAKE BOX - SHEFFIELD, UK, CIRCA 1900

In the 1900s through the 1930's more streamlined and modern Art Deco styles became popular. Most of the keepsake boxes we have date from this era. To see our whole collection of vintage silver or silver-plated keepsake boxes, click here. 

HALLMARKED SILVER PLATED KEEPSAKE BOX - SHEFFIELD, UK, CIRCA 1900

Read more

Shopping a Community of Makers: Intellectual Property - The Great Republic
American gifts

Shopping a Community of Makers: Intellectual Property

We at The Great Republic take pride in celebrating American craftsmanship and supporting the community of American makers, designers, artists, and creators represented in our shop.  From our leath...

Read more
The Stories Behind Five Famous Pen Names - The Great Republic
18th Century Books

The Stories Behind Five Famous Pen Names

A pseudonym is a fictitious name taken by a writer in place of their real name. The term "pseudonym" is a Greek word that literally means "false name." There are many reasons why an author might ta...

Read more

Blog posts

The History of the Baldric Sash - The Great Republic

The History of the Baldric Sash

Patriotic baldric sashes were frequently produced in the late 19th through early 20th centuries. Political candidates, as well as elected officials, often sported the hand-made sashes during campai...

Read more
Tracking the Transcontinental Railroad - The Great Republic

Tracking the Transcontinental Railroad

Tracking down the transcontinental railroad's construction throughout the mid-19th-century, this blog provides an overview of the 1862 Pacific Railroad Act and the effects it had on the new America...

Read more
The Story Behind this Iconic Margaret Bourke-White Photograph - The Great Republic
20th Century

The Story Behind this Iconic Margaret Bourke-White Photograph

In April 1952, Life ran a twelve page article with Margaret Bourke-White’s photographs, entitled, “A New Way To Look At the U.S.: Camera and helicopter give an exalted view of the land.” From her u...

Read more
Back to the top