Silver dressing table pieces became popular in the 19th century. Manufacturers took advantage of advancing mass production techniques in order to create attractive bedroom ornaments. Dressing table sets were kept in cases. These were predominantly made of wood until the late 19th century, when they were replaced by cases made of leather and silver.
Dressing table silver was heavily ornamented, often with feminine designs featuring flowers, birds, and women in masks. The Art Nouveau style became popular at the turn of the century. However, the early 20th century favoured plainer, simpler designs for dressing table silver. Sometimes, these pieces would be decorated with guilloche enameling. Others were backed with a combination of silver and tortoiseshell. These were often inlaid with delicate ribbon and floral swags and wreaths.
Small dressing table sets were popular birthday and engagement gifts.
It is more common to find dressing table silver being sold separately rather than in a full set. Delicate jewellery boxes, decorative scent bottles and bejewelled mirrored compacts are all popular items of silver that once adorned grand vanity tables, and are still popular today.