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History of the Trinket Box

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

Originally, these boxes were used specifically for jewellery. These were in common use as early as 5000 BC in Ancient Egypt. The majority of Egyptians, both male and female, wore jewellery. Boxes were used to keep these gemstone encrusted items safe.

In Ancient Rome, jewellery was a status symbol. Rings and brooches were utilised to represent ones status in society. Again, boxes were needed for security and storage purposes.

Trinket trays and boxes were produced for 17th and 18th century toilet services; however early examples of these are rare.

trinket box history
history of the trinket box
trinket box history

Victorian and Edwardian examples of trinket boxes are far more common. This is because owning jewellery was a luxury until the Victorian era- let alone possessing so much a box was needed to store it all. Fine jewellery and other items became available to the masses after the industrial revolution due to the reduction in production costs.

This led to a demand for trinket boxes, which were much smaller than jewellery boxes and therefore better suited to the needs of the middle class who did not yet possess an abundance of jewellery.

In Victorian households, collectables and other items of interested were also stashed inside these boxes. This is why they are known as ‘trinket boxes’ rather than just ‘jewellery boxes’, although of course jewellery was also stored in them.

Trinket boxes were produced in large numbers around this time. Many were lined with coloured plush or velvet. More elaborate designs had interior divisions and trays for rings and other pieces of jewellery. 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.

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.

Novelty trinket boxes were popular in the early 20th century. These frequently had false drawer fronts and cupboard doors, although some were created which did feature multiple individual drawers used to hold only one ring.

Andrew Campbell started trading in antiques during the 1970s. Initially, Andrew lived in the South of England, travelling the country, searching for items of silver to buy. Andrew sold these items at various London markets and antique fairs. Over time, and through selling at a range of venues, Andrew built up a large and diverse customer base from private buyers to national and international trade customers.
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