SHOPPING FUN in the “early days.” With the development of a Middle Class in 1900 America, also came some discretionary funds for family spending. The end of the 1800’s saw the creation of the Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck catalogs and, soon after, Macy’s and others. So, persons could merely “turn the page” to shop for necessities as well as items which they found appealing. Enter the jewel box, casket, trinket box, pictured as early as 1905 in Macy’s catalog; and soon after in Sears and Wards. THE JEWEL BOX BOOK shows pages of jewel boxes in over twenty catalogs, 1905-15: size, finish, price, etc. Today’s opportunity for identification.
Within a very few years, jewel cases became very popular. Not only did art metal manufacturers cast jewel boxes in differing sizes and finishes, but as their popularity increased, variations on a theme were also created by the company, as seen below. This was a way to sell new styles, yet invest less in design and manufacturing costs.
After a while, copying designs became a common practice among some of the art metal manufacturers, since some designs were very popular, and each wanted to out-do the other. Also, patenting designs became too time-consuming for such a fast-developing area of interest.