If like me you sit glued to the Antiques Roadshow every Sunday evening, you’ll know how an expensive box can get the heart racing when someone pulls some jewellery out of their bag to be valued. Expensive pieces of jewellery typically have expensive boxes, often custom made to fit the necklace, brooch, earrings or tiara contained within. Antiques experts love nothing better than a lovely leather box with the word Cartier or Faberge on it, but does presentation matter so much with modern jewellery?
However nice the item within, when you give someone an item of jewellery as a gift, it pays to take time over packaging it up and making it look nice. Even a very cheap pair of earrings from a chain store can be made to look much more special by taking them off the little plastic card they are sold on and putting them in a nice little square box filled with tissue paper. Decorate the box with some scraps of bright ribbon and you have instantly turned your rather ordinary earrings into a gift to be proud of.
Most good jewellery retailers will give you a free small gift box when you buy some items from them. It can be worth asking whether they can “upgrade” your box to one which looks a little more special or sumptuous, and they may be happy to do this for a few pounds. Alternatively, buy a vintage or more expensive box online and use that to present your new jewellery in.
Hinges, catches and clips
The whole point of having a box to keep precious things in is to stop them getting damaged and broken, but if the hinges on your box are loose or if the catch keeps coming undone, then your jewellery is at risk of falling out of the box and getting lost. This is particularly an issue with vintage boxes which do deteriorate over time. If you are lucky enough to own an expensive and valuable piece of jewellery which has had a box specially made to fit, it is a good idea to ask your local independent jeweller to either make you a new box to fit, or refer you to someone who can.
Boxes are a great way of presenting jewellery for sale and for storage, but they are only one method used by the retailers. The problem with using boxes for display is that you cannot see what is inside the box when it is closed, so many jewellery brands are coming up with other ways of displaying their wares. Bracelet manufacturers use plastic hoops to show their customers what their bracelets look like when worn, and a lovely necklace can come on a square piece of card rather than boxed, for example. Links of London have used coloured glass bottles to show off their bracelets in a shop window, and although this looks great in a display it’s not a practical way to store items at home. Sometimes a box really is the best choice after all.
Article by Morag Peers