Did you know the word jewellery (we love a good trivia!) very likely comes from the Latin word ‘jocus’ meaning "sport or pastime" and its variation ‘jocale’ – ‘play thing’? And they’re not only play things, but precious things - to wear, enjoy and admire. Anything small and precious will need safe keeping, so it was just a matter of time that function would follow form and jewellery boxes would soon be needed.

Jewellery boxes go back in time as far back as ancient Egypt or the ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia where intricate pieces with inlaying with ivory, gold or contrasting veneers were found; and as near as France during the French revolution where jewellery boxes were actually called caskets as they were quite large in size (think small chest of drawers able to hold a tiara!) and with feet rather than just resting flat on a surface. They quickly became almost as covetable as the jewels they were designed to hold - adorned with gems, precious metals or inlaid with Sevres porcelain like Marie Antoinette’s. They were extremely valuable not only due to value of materials but also because skilled makers were so few.

It was not until the industrial revolution that jewellery and jewellery boxes become more affordable to the middle class. The Victorian era sees in the smaller trinket boxes and a renewed passion for collecting novelty items, now able to fit smaller middle class homes and their smaller pieces of jewellery.

Box making today has remained an art that requires skill, time and precision. They are often made in wood - a perfect medium: affordable, durable and light, malleable with beautiful grains and patterns. Featuring intricate marquetry, contrasting veneers or lined with suede, they can be made with clever compartments for storing valuables, fitted with hinges and locks and can easily be customized or engraved.

Below - a small selection below of wood boxes and fine wood objects currently available in DesignYard. Please contact us for private commissions.

Colour Fusion Box

Red Sycamore bowl with silver inlay by Irish wood turner Roger Bennett

Sycamore bowls with silver inlay by Irish wood turner Roger Bennett

Selection of  layered wooden bowls with different veneers by Irish wood turner Mark Hanvey.

February 05, 2019 — David