Published Articles

A “Jewel” of a Collection as it appeared in Antique Week, August 28, 2006 Written by Joanne Victorie Wiertella, Photography by Willa Davis

Excerpt: “Fortunately for us, today Art Nouveau jewel boxes can be found nearly everywhere—if you look carefully—antique shops, malls, antique shows, the internet, re-sale shops, even garage sales, though rarely.  Because jewel boxes are, in some ways, as yet ‘unrecognized’ by the general public as a valued antique collectible, they are often mislabeled, mis-priced, and mislaid. Prices range from $20-$700 each. Art metal Nouveau jewel boxes seem to be one of the ‘best kept secrets,’ for there actually are many serious collectors in the United States and elsewhere—some with collections as large as 800 boxes!”

 

Cherubs on Jewelry Boxes as it appeared in Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver and Antique Register, March—April 2006
Written by Joanne Victorie Wiertella, Photography by Willa Davis

Antique jewelry boxes (also called jewel caskets or trinket boxes) are delightful treasures often decorated with angels or cherubs. During the early 1900′s when Americans, the English, and French were enjoying an artistic and philosophical Renaissance, angels, cherubs, hearts and roses, were an important theme that symbolized the message of love.  A jewel box was the perfect gift in the early 1900′s for a gentleman to express his admiration for a lady.

 

Antique American and German Jewel Boxes as Souvenirs as it appeared in ASCAS Newsletter #91, December 2011
Written by Joanne Victorie Wiertella, Photography by Willa Davis and Joanne Wiertella

During the early 1900’s,  increased travel and discretionary spending, a desire for beautiful items not previously available to the “average” person, and the manufacture of “objets d’art” priced as trinkets—all these encouraged American travelers to purchase mementos of their journeys inside and outside of their country. About the same time Germany was fast developing an art metal wares export industry— called “white metal,” German silver,” and “nickel silver.” This gave rise to the souvenir jewelry box, which soon became a phenomenon.

 

Nouveau Jewelry Boxes Portray Spring Floral Fantasies as it appeared in Collectors Journal, May 27, 2008
Written by Joanne Victorie Wiertella and Steven P. Pody, Photography by Willa Davis

The Victorian “Language of Flowers” combined with the new style, Art Nouveau, culminated in art metal trinket or jewelry boxes, or caskets that were lavishly decorated with flowers. The flowing lines fit very well with the sentiments of the blossoms in the early 1900’s: “Vergiss mein nicht!” (FORGET ME NOT!); Lily of the Valley, also called “Virgin’s Tears”; The Daisy, the “poet’s darling;” Four-Leaf Clover having good luck properties, and so on.  Flowers should deck the brow of the youthful bride, for they are in themselves a lovely type of marriage. . . .”

 

Symbols of Romance as it appeared in Collectors News, February 2007by Joanne Victorie Wiertella and Steven P. Pody   Photography by Willa Davis

When we think of Valentine’s Day today, we envision Roses, Cupid with his golden tipped arrows, and Hearts be-decked with ribbons. Hearts as symbols of “love” date from the late medieval period. The Rose, “Queen of Flowers,” has been a favorite throughout history for its perfect beauty.  Cupid is the son of Venus the Goddess of Love. All these symbols, the Rose, Cupid, the Heart, Poppies and Cherubs, adorned the art metal jewelry boxes of yesteryear.