They’ve been around since 5000BC when caskets were used by men and women in ancient Egypt as they believed jewellery had a spiritual significance.
Upper-class Egyptians had intricate jewellery boxes inlaid with precious metals and silver gilding, and pharaohs were buried with their jewel chests.
Lower-class Egyptians used decorated boxes made of reeds to store their talismans.
Jewellery stands seem to have become the item of choice in recent decades, but now cabinets are making a comeback in our homes — with sales spiking in the run-up to Christmas.
Stylish: LoneStar WoodWorks organiser (£331.79, etsy.com). Jewellery stands seem to have become the item of choice in recent decades, but now cabinets are making a comeback too
It’s easy to see why; there’s something very satisfying about hanging up necklaces, placing rings in little velvet slots and, more importantly, knowing where each piece is when you need it.
‘In previous decades, women had just a few pieces of jewellery and wore them only on special occasions, but now they seem to have bucketloads of the stuff,’ says celebrity jeweller Theo Fennell, whose clients include Elton John and Liz Hurley.
‘I would hate to think of any piece of mine not being looked after properly, just stuffed into a drawer next to the hairdryer.’
Fennell’s bespoke jewellery comes in its own specially made box so he prefers a glass cabinet, what the Germans call a wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosities.
‘Then you can leave the box open, look at the piece and enjoy it when you’re not wearing it,’ he says.
Silver Mushroom’s Nkuku Bequai wall-hung mirrored jewellery box in brass would be just the ticket (£99, silvermushroom.com).
Fennell suggests keeping an eye on auction house sales and scouring antique shops. ‘Drive around a country town somewhere like Dorset and you’re bound to find a nice glass armoire for a reasonable price.’
The range of cabinets on offer online is impressive. Mine came from Wayfair, is 3ft tall and so sturdy that, with a lamp on top, it doubles as a nice piece of furniture. It has swing-out doors with 14 hooks for necklaces.
For homes where space is at a premium, try the Lvsomt range. It has a cabinet (amazon.co.uk, £99) that could be wall-mounted or screwed to the back of a door, transparent drawers and LED lights, but you’ll have to assemble it yourself.
It’s worth laying all your stuff out on a table first to work out which items you need the most space for.
If you’re after a bit more bling, opt for the richly decorated gold leaf and floral Chinese armoire from Asia Dragon, which costs £398 and comes with seven deep drawers (asiadragon.co.uk).
The over-the-top Lxn Armoire from Amazon would make a brilliant statement piece in a room with its hand-painted flowers in a Scandi-rustic style.
It has seven drawers, two swing-out doors for necklaces and comes in pink, blue and, of course, gold (£780, amazon.co.uk).
Fennell also points out that whatever jewellery you have, it needs to be buffed and treasured. He recommends soaking items overnight in warm water mixed with Ajax and then cleaning it gently with a soft toothbrush.
‘Your grandmother’s jewellery, if you have inherited any, has survived in good condition because she didn’t wear it to the gym, she didn’t drive and she didn’t have it on when she was gardening,’ he says.
‘Women come to me and say ‘Granny’s rings are wrecked!’ and that’s because they’ve worn them on both hands and then clapped enthusiastically at the theatre, bashing those precious stones together. Don’t do it. You need to look after those jewels like your Granny did.’