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This is a beautiful vintage musical jewellery box, made in Italy in the 1930s. It is complete with its original working lock and key.
This box is made of solid Olive Wood. The lid has lovely hand painted Swallows and a beautiful inlaid mosaic frame. This type of mosaic inlay is known as 'Tesselation'. A description of this can be found below.
The bottom of the box has retained its original tune title label for the movement.
The Swallows on this box were most likely added as a form of symbolism. The Swallow represents the safe journey home of a loved one.
Mosaic Tesselation Inlay
This type of inlay is skillfully created with hundreds of tiny pieces of wood. It is painstakingly put together over many, many hours, to form a beautiful mosaic pattern. Several varieties of wood are used, to add colour and dimension to the mosaic.
About Olive Wood
Olive wood has a distinctive grain and rich colour, and characteristic brown and yellow streaks. These features make it a sought after wood for decorative items such as jewellery boxes.
Olive wood is also favoured for its hardness. It is a strong durable wood with a fairly high density, and it takes well to cutting and polishing.
The olive tree primarily grows in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean. Its wood has been used for many years by Italian box makers in particular. It is also a favoured wood in areas of the Holy Lands such as Jerusalem.
The interior has two swing opening compartments, and a further larger compartment beneath.
The musical movement is cased to the right of the lower compartment.
The compartments have their original thick quilted silk panels, and original silk linings to the walls. The casing concealing the movement is also covered with the same silk. The silk is a lovely powder blue shade.
The inside of the lid has its original inset mirror. This is surrounded by beautiful satin stringing which has a twisted 'rope' design.
The box has its original brass hinges, and its original working lock and key. The hinges on the lid are quality 'stop' hinges which prevent the lid from falling back.
Notes About Vintage Locks
We would like to make you aware that vintage locks can suddenly malfunction at any time. They are already very old and will naturally have some wear from age and use. We are not responsible for locks that malfunction from further age and use, once boxes are purchased.
Please ensure the lock is working as soon as you receive your box.
You can view our full returns policy which includes locks, by visiting our Payments And Returns page.
The Musical Movement
The movement is in good working order and plays the beautiful tune 'Over The Waves' (Sobre Las Olas). This is a beautiful waltz from the 19th century by the little known Mexican composer and violinist, Juventino Rosas.
In the 20th century, Maurice Jarre, composed a leitmotif from this waltz, titled 'Lara's Theme'. This was composed for the 1965 film 'Dr Zhivago' and is where the tune is most recognised from.
A little later, in the mid to late 1960s, lyrics were added to create the song 'Somewhere My Love'. This was recorded by artists such as Connie Francis, Andy Williams, and Johnny Mathis.
Operating The Musical Movement
The movement is operated via the winding key on the bottom of the box. 5 turns of the key are sufficient to fully wind up the movement. The music stops as it should, when the lid is closed, or when the movement is fully unwound. The lid must be fully closed with the lock keep firmly in the lock, in order for the music to stop playing.
Notes On Vintage Musical Movements
As with all musical boxes, care should be taken not to over wind the movement. Over winding will result in the movement malfunctioning. We are not responsible for movements that are over wound or for movements which deteriorate from further age and use, once boxes are purchased.
Please read our returns policy which includes our policy on musical movements.
This wonderful old box is in very good condition for its 80 plus years of age.
All of the inlay is present and intact and the box is of sound structure.
There is minor fading to the wood and painted Swallows on the lid. Keeping the box out of direct sunlight will prevent further fading.
The interior satin, being original, has some light marks/light staining as we'd expect from age and use. This is not unsightly in our opinion as it adds to the charm of an old box. It may not however be tasteful to some, so please take this into consideration before purchasing the box. We do not recommend cleaning the satin as doing so could spoil its colour and cause damage.
The hinges are in good working order and the box locks securely.
Please use the following measurements to ensure the box is the right size for your requirements.
Length: 20.9cm Width: 12.3cm Height: 9.5cm
Swing Compartments x 2:
7.7cm square with a 2.5cm depth.
12.0 by 8.5cm with a 2.5cm depth.
This box will be posted FREE within the UK, by Next Day Special Delivery.
International postage is £25 by Royal Mail International Signed For post. Delivery is fast, within 3-5 working days to Europe and 5-7 working days to the rest of the world.
Please contact us for more details.
The Old Jewellery Box Shop
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