Superb Italian Musical Vintage Jewellery Box With Marquetry Inlay

( JB574 )
Sold ~ Please contact us if you're looking for a similar box and we will endeavour to source one for you!

Fabulous vintage Italian musical jewellery box playing 'Santa Lucia'. Beautifully veneered with burl woods and featuring marquetry inlay to the lid. Original quilted pink silk panels, silk linings, ballerina and mirrors to the interior. A rare design and a rare and unusual operation to the musical movement! Circa 1950s/1960s.

Superb Italian Musical Vintage Jewellery Box With Marquetry Inlay

  FREE UK NEXT DAY DELIVERY.  We Ship Worldwide.

This is a superb vintage musical jewellery box in the form of a retro Italian tube radio! It was made in Sorrento, Italy and it dates to the 1950s/1960s. The box plays the beautiful Italian tune 'Santa Lucia'. Please click the link further down this page to view a short video of the box playing its music. 

The quirky design of this box is rare and so too is the musical movement that has a very unusual operation. Further details on this are given below.

The Exterior

This box is beautifully veneered with burl woods and has extremely decorative marquetry inlay to the lid. The inlay consists of several colourful varieties of wood and is beautifully framed with inlaid stringing.

The beautiful marquetry features a large central heart, surrounded by scrolling leafy vines. It also features a pair of butterflies and a pair of mythological griffin like creatures.

The front of the box has many of the features of a retro Italian tube style radio. It has a raised feature to the left which has the Italian town names of Roma, Napoli, Torino and Genoa, beautifully hand-painted upon it. These town names represent radio stations. Also upon this feature are a hand-painted tree and Mount Vesuvius (which is erupting). On the right is a raised speaker feature and at the bottom there are three tuning knobs. The centre knob actually functions like a real knob - more details on this are given below.

The box has beautiful curvature and a wonderful domed lid. It stands raised on a beautifully shaped, fixed plinth style base.

The entire exterior has a protective glossy varnished finish.

The box has its original piano hinge and its original musical movement's song title label.

The Interior

The interior has two raised compartments and its original pretty ballerina.

The inside of the lid has five panelled mirrors, framed with twisted pink silk cord trim.

The bases of both compartments have their original plump quilted silk panels and their interior walls have their original silk linings. The silk is a lovely baby pink shade and you can see its beautiful weave.

The ballerina has a pretty pink silk skirt with blue polka dots and lovely netting. This is very 1950s! She has high-quality articulated legs which are attached to her body with metal links. She has a hand-painted silver corset and painted facial/hair details, and a pretty bronze coloured thread bow on the back of her skirt. The ballerina spins around and moves up and down when the musical movement is activated.

The entire interior is completely original, including the ballerina. This is lovely as quite often these are lost.

The Musical Movement

The movement plays the beautiful Italian tune 'Santa Lucia'. This is a traditional Neapolitan song, written by Teodoro Cottrau and published in 1849. It is the first Neopolitan song to be translated and given Italian lyrics. Its original lyrics celebrate the pretty waterfront of Santa Lucia.

The movement is in good working order, playing the tune at its correct tempo.

View A Video

Please click the link below to view this box playing its music. This will take you to our Facebook post:

The Old Jewellery Box Shop Facebook Santa Lucia Musical Box Video

Operating The Musical Movement

The movement is operated via the winding key on the bottom of the box. Four turns of the key are sufficient to fully wind up the movement. The movement has a rare and unusual operation. This is activated by the centre knob on the front of the box which functions just like a real radio knob! You turn the knob to the right to activate the music and to the left to switch it off. Most musical movements start playing when you lift the lid and stop once you close it.

Notes On Vintage Musical Movements

Care should be taken not to overwind the movement. Over winding will result in the movement malfunctioning. We are not responsible for movements that are overwound or for movements that deteriorate from further age and use once boxes are purchased.

Please check the movement is still working as soon as you receive your box. It will be checked again prior to posting.

Please read our returns policy which includes our policy on musical movements.


This lovely box is in very good condition. It has sound structure and only minor light wear, commensurate with age and use.

All of the veneer and marquetry inlay is present and secure.

There is some light age-related crazing to the exterior varnish but this crackled like appearance has given the box its genuine old look and feel.

The interior quilted silk panels and linings have some light marks and discolouration from age and honest use. They are still neatly fitted and have no splits or fraying.

The mirrors are distressed which is usual for boxes of this age and manufacture. Again this gives the box its lovely old look and proves its age. The mirrors are securely fitted and have no chips or cracks. 

Please view the interior photos provided. These aged interiors are not to everyone's taste so please take this into consideration before purchasing the box.

The musical movement is in good working order, as stated above.


Please use the following measurements to ensure the box is the right size for your requirements.

Length:   25.0cm
Width:     13.6cm
Height:    10.5cm  (including plinth base)

The length and width measurements have been taken across the base.

Interior Compartments x 2:

9.0 by 5.5cm with a 3.5cm depth.


This box will be posted FREE within the UK by Royal Mail Next Day Special Delivery.

International postage is £25 by Royal Mail International Tracked and/or Signed For postage. Delivery is fast, within 3-5 working days to Europe and 5-7 working days to the rest of the world. Delivery may be longer depending on the speed of your local postal service and/or if your package has to go through customs.

Customs and VAT fees

International customers are responsible for paying any applicable customs duties, customs clearance/handling fees and/or VAT. These fees are NOT included in the prices of our boxes or our postage fees.

Please visit our Orders & Delivery page for further details.

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