Material Culture – Object Biography

Jewelry Box, American, ca. 2010-2020

Jewelry Box

American, ca. 2010-2020

Beads and Felt

Twenty-first century beaded jewelry box featuring silver, white, and blue beadwork. Dimensions are approximately 2 ½ in. x 1 ½ in.

This square jewelry box features small, silver beadwork along the base and sides and a more ornate beaded detail on the lid with navy blue and white beads arranged into a simple geometric pattern. The beads vary from small spherical shapes to longer cylindrical shapes. Along the edges, square metal colored beads create a border. The top is removable and inside the box features smooth black felt. It was produced approximately 2017 and was mass produced, likely in China, for commercial distribution.

This jewelry box is found in my bedroom and functions as a place to store and protect jewelry such as rings and necklaces when not in use. Its more ornate design also features as a decoration within my bedroom and a reminder of when and by who it was given to me.

 It fits into the cultural pattern of women wearing jewelry and the many variations that can be found in the size of individual collections. For me specifically, it shows that while I do wear jewelry, I only own a small amount and an even smaller amount I consider valuable enough to protect within the small box. While the box itself is of little monetary value, the contents are more telling of me as a person. It generally holds my engagement ring, a necklace given to me, and my grandmother’s wedding rings. Someone looking into the jewelry box would be able to see things that I value such as the sentimental value of a present and even more importantly my grandmother’s rings show my attachment to a lost family member. This in itself shows a jewelry box as a larger cultural indicator because often the contents are more valuable than the box itself.

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