Belles of the Nouveau Epoch:
From “The Artistic and Commercial Development of the Silversmith’s Craft,” by W. Augustus Steward, Chief Instructor in Gold and Silversmithing at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London:
“…at almost the close of the century came the outburst of that peculiar style, which is known, according to country, as L’Art Nouveau, Jugend, or ‘New Art.’ This particular form of design, which has perhaps had greater vogue in France and Germany than in Great Britain or America, much as it has been decried, has in my opinion been responsible for a considerable amount of good. It may be criticized as strongly and as persistently as one may think fit. It may be described as stringy, wormy and meaningless, but after all, it is the natural revolt following the persistent copying of styles of bygone times, a protest against a dearth of ideas. It is as a voice crying aloud in the universe for something new, something which shall exhibit a new feeling, a newer thought, and despite all its vagaries, despite its many shortcomings, no one can gainsay (deny) that this New Art is serving a definite and useful purpose.” February, 1905 Jeweller’s Circular Keystone
Jewel boxes in particular, then and today, were also called Jewel Caskets, Jewel Cases, or Trinket Boxes. They are delightful remembrances of our American past, as richly diverse as our own American heritage, varying in style, composition, and use. These and other items were popular palettes for the artist wishing to portray fashion and style for the American lady.