Made in a variety of materials –porcelain, wood, silver, metal or glass – trinket boxes have been holding our treasures for many, many years. Many of the top-of-the-line trinket boxes have been made by Rene Lalique, Limoges, Royal Doulton, Fabrege and more.

According to some information I found on the internet at a blog called ProAdsense, “A trinket box is also known by other terms such as jewel case or casket and has been used from the medieval times on dressers. These are small boxes that are embellished on the top in a variety of designs and have a hollow space or concealment when opened. These small boxes are perfect to keep jewels and other trinkets. The adornments on the top of the trinket boxes vary according to the designers and clients whims and fancies. From gold to iron, all metals have been used to create trinket boxes. Other materials that have been used to make these jewel cases are wood, Papier Mache, stone, ivory and porcelain. Since the 17th century onwards, there has been a spurt in the production of trinket boxes since the Limoges Box was introduced in France. As it was manufactured by the King’s own kilns, it became a rage with the nobility.”

I didn’t think I had a “collection” of trinket boxes until I thought of writing a story about the specialty boxes. My trinket boxes don’t number more than about six or so, but I find them delicately beautiful.

The dark blue trinket box in my collection was a gift from my son and I believe it is vintage. The box was made in Greece and is porcelain with pretty art depicted on the outside of the box as well as inside. The art on the box features three people. One man is playing a lute while a young woman stands and watches. The third figure is another man who is also holding a lute. The Grecian designs are trimmed around the top of the box as well as the bottom portion. Delicate ferns and green leaves are also featured in the background of the group. The gold trim accents the piece perfectly and I’m very partial to the navy blue color.

Another trinket box that was recently added to my collection hails from Hungary. My husband and I visited there a couple of years ago and this box was also gifted to me. Made of porcelain and stamped on the bottom are the words, “Hand Made.” This box is trimmed in 18k gold and features a lively blend of pink and mauve flowers as well as a butterfly. It should be noted, however, that this box is probably new.

One of my treasured trinket boxes that is somewhat larger than the others, features weaved, brass design with a completely removable top. This box is special to me because on the bottom is a Marshall Field’s sticker. Marshall Field’s closed in September of 2006, so I know the box is older than that. As an aside, I have saved quite a few of my Marshall Field’s gift boxes (not trinket) in various sizes. I’ll never use them as a gift box as they evoke a time when I shopped at the store. But getting back to the trinket box, the intricate rope design featured around the top and bottom of this box is very appealing and required a great deal of handiwork. I found this box at a resale shop and it’s also stamped, “Made in India.”

And last, but certainly not least, is a small metal trinket box with a hinged lid. The top features a punched image of Colonial men on horseback outside of a public house drinking a tankard of ale before riding off. A girl is standing by the one mounted soldier holding his finished drink, while the second soldier is draining his portion. Scroll work around the edge of the box is done quite well as are the defined brickwork and windows in the tavern. The horses the men are atop are also done in great detail. I purchased this piece at an antique store in Lisle, Illinois about 12 years ago and the tag on it says it’s a vintage piece. Inside is lined with red velvet fabric to safeguard one’s treasures. I have loved it ever since I bought it, and keep it in a safe place where I can take it out and enjoy it from time to time.

If you’re thinking of adding to your collection or starting one, there are quite a few trinket boxes to be found at antique shops, resell-it shops and online. For the most part they are priced affordably, although if looking for famous designers, be prepared to pay a lot more! I did a quick search and found quite a few on EBay. I’m sure there are more collectors of trinket boxes, so please contact me if you have a collection –I’d love to hear from you! I can be reached at meego929@aol.com. Or at editor@collectorsjournal.com. Telephone at (319) 472-4763.