Superb & Rare 17th Century German Jewelry Casket!

Item #CC-0519 | Superb & Rare 17th Century German Jewelry Casket!
Country of Origin: Likely Nuremburg or Augsburg, Germany
Composition: Wrought Iron
Dimensions:  8-3/4″ Long, 4-3/8″ Wide – 5-3/4″ Tall
Condition: Very Fine

Description: This is a beautifully preserved and extremely rare example of a 17th century wrought iron jewelry casket. These tiny chests were made in Nuremberg and Augsburg Germany from the 16th through the 18th centuries and used by wealthy merchants, noblemen, and high ranking military officers to store and transport their valuables.

The Exterior

Precious few of these small chests exist outside of museums that are not heavily corroded or damaged and this example is in superb condition. This chest boasts a beautiful original floral polychrome painted exterior, which was likely painted in Holland as indicated by the presence of tulips.

The top of the chest has its original key hole cover and key which are often missing. The cover is used to conceal the actual key hole and keep debris from falling into the locking mechanism. The front of the chest has a beautifully preserved and engraved false key hole escutcheon plate, which was used to fool would-be thieves into thinking it was the way to open the chest. The sides have the original twisted iron handles designed to protect your fingers when the chest is lifted and the bottom has its original ball feet!  Overall there are few signs of corrosion, which is pretty amazing considering this little chest has survived over 400 years of weather, travels, and bandits.

Small chestFor reference, this photo shows the jewelry casket sitting on top of a standard sized Armada chest.

The Interior

InteriorWhat makes this chest truly remarkable is the interior. The locking mechanism is hidden beneath a beautifully engraved, polished steel and blued escutcheon plate. Typically jewelry caskets don’t have a plate covering the locking mechanism, which makes this piece unique. Chests like these that have bluing were made for very wealthy clientele who could afford this level of customization and artistry. Finding a Nuremberg chest of any size that even has slight remnants of its original bluing is almost unheard of! The craftsmanship and quality reflected in this chest’s construction, painting, engraving, and bluing stand as a testimony of how incredibly skilled the blacksmiths were during this period.

Without a doubt, this little chest belonged to someone very special.

For more information on Nuremberg chests like this one, check out our Treasure Blog titled “The Amazing History of the Armada Chest at: