15 antique engagement ring boxes to keep your precious jewelry safe
With engagement season almost upon us, there's beautiful rings everywhere we turn and if you love gorgeous packaging like us, you'll know the box is almost as important as the sparkler inside. We're not here for generic mass-produced ring boxes, oh no, we love one-of-a-kind antique ring boxes that can become a family heirloom alongside your treasured ring one day.
Today we are sharing a stunning collection of vintage rings and boxes to inspire you, courtesy of Australian wedding photographer and Fine Art Curation member, Serenity Photography. Founder Anastasia has a special interest in art history and collects antique jewelry boxes, and shares her knowledge about these beautiful keepsakes.
From Anastasia: "Owning jewellery had always been a rare luxury and the high-end market demanded the finest of materials, such as fine silk, plush velvet and fine Morocco leather with tooled and gilded binding. Each box was designed and constructed one at a time by craftsmen, who were mostly women, working from famous workshops in the jewellery districts of Birmingham and London, and the lids we're printed with the business name and address or 'by Royal Appointment.'"
"Antique ring boxes came in different shapes and colors defined by the era, including round/tub; oval; horseshoe; shield; heart; lozenge; book and envelope. Traditionally the basic structure was made of wood, lined with natural fabrics like silk or cotton velvet, and the cases then bound in fine leather or later, fabric. Colors were limited by the dyes available at the time and early boxes are found in cream, grey and pale blue for the fabrics, and brown, black and darker red for the leathers."
"The earliest boxes were during the Georgian era. Covered with leather and lined with fine silk, they had tiny metal catches to appear like small treasure chests. My favourite is an 1830s horseshoe shape, which resemble tiny Victorian bonnets."
"In the Victorian era advances in the creation of aniline fabric dyes made fabulous new colours possible. Mauveine was one of the first synthetic dyes and one can see the popularity of this amazing color in the proliferation of plush purple boxes from the period."
"Antique boxes are a thoughtful and beautiful choice for a proposal: to present an engagement ring inside a treasured art piece that holds a 150-year-old love story inside makes it even more special."
So where should you look to find a vintage ring box? It's worth asking around your local jewelers and antique shops, and leave your contact details with owners so they can let you know should any come in. Check out flea markets and estate sales, and ask around family and friends.
Don't forget to look online too, Etsy often has some gems and you can set up a saved search on eBay - although you'll have to be quick as they barely last an hour after listing. Some shapes are rarer than others, such as horseshoe and book shapes, which may be harder to track down. Try seeking out private collectors, and visit antique jewelry exhibitions and auctions.
Photographer and stylist: Serenity Photography | Film Lab: Photovision Prints | Rings: Victor Barbone | Ring boxes: Personal collection of Serenity Photography | Stationary: Papier. Handmade Finery | Veils: Madame Tulle | Shoes: Bella Belle via the White Collection | Lingerie: The Lace Atelier