Art Metal manufacturers experimented with many finishes. Jewelry boxes were electroplated with gold (sometimes called “Ormolu”), silver, copper, and given a variety of other finishes such as “French Bronze,” “Roman Gold,” “French Gray,” or “Parisian Silver.” Around 1911, ivory finishes were introduced. These boxes were painted with enamel, then finished with various oxides, resulting in “Old Ivory,” “Oriental Ivory,” and “Tinted Ivory.” Ivory enamel finished boxes were advertised as “more lasting than gold- or silver-plated boxes” and, in fact, they were. Some boxes were even given additional tooling to highlight certain aspects of the jewel cases.

All of these finishes, and more, are found on trinket boxes, caskets, and jewelry boxes– described and pictured in full color in The Jewel Box Book. Photography by Willa Davis.

1913 Metal Goods. On metal goods — silver and gold plate especially — price is the index as to what the grade of plate is and, which is important, the material on which the plate is laid. This is on the presumption that you are buying of a reliable concern and not of a dealer in "phony" goods.

A scratch on a thin wash over tin will become black and stay black. Britannia ware is a better base for plate goods and is higher priced than white metal.

It is a fascinating sight to watch the process of gold plating. The solution is hot and the dip takes but a second or less, and is repeated until the desired thickness is reached. In silver plating cold solutions are used and the process takes a longer time.

Fancy metal goods, both etched and imitation etched, change in style with the seasons and the same is true of brass and copper goods. Hammered brass seems less the vogue than formerly. Cheap hammered brass and copper goods were simply made of domestic sheet metal laid over a wad of tar and hammered to look like the genuine hand hammered goods made from a solid block of brass or copper.
From the Northwestern Druggist August 1913

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1905. Jewel boxes

Never seem to go out of date and this year shows a great many new and beautiful ideas in this line. Among the newest goods is a heart shaped jewel box of German silver with velvet cushion top. They come in different sizes to retail from two dollars up.

Fabrics, fancy goods and Notions, Volume 39 1905

March 1912.

The sample lines of fancy goods now being displayed by manufacturers and importers are far more attractive than ever before. American manufacturers, especially, have been and still are making most wonderful strides in the production of fancy goods of all descriptions. The advances they have made in this direction should be a source of satisfaction, not only to them, but also to the trade in general. In no branch of the trade have greater advances been made than in the line of metal toilet articles, many of which, for artistic beauty and excellence of workmanship, compare most favorably with the choicest productions of the old world.