Hi! I hope you are well and enjoying your day 🙂 Today I have a popular collectible to talk with you about: ladies vanity jars, sometimes referred to as dresser, powder, or trinket jars. Some version of this type of receptacle for makeup, jewelry, and whatnots has been with us since our ancestors began molding clay into bowls, but the ones I have to share with you today all date to the twentieth century, some made of china, others of crystal or glass, and still others of metal. You’ll see versions decorated with fabric, embroidery, enamel, and paint. Each of the beauties in this post belongs to me; this is my personal collection. They cost anywhere from fifty cents to four dollars, with most costing one to two dollars. I would put a value of ten to sixty dollars on each.
Extremely popular during the Victorian period, one would find them on a lady’s dressing table, perhaps as part of a set, matching her mirror, brush, comb, and tray. They are widely collected for their beauty, as well as their practicality since they can be used to hold all kinds of “stuff.” I have them sitting on my dresser holding jewelry, and since I wear jewelry every day, I notice and appreciate them daily.
Glass & Metal Jars
I purchased this enameled beauty in England at a car boot sale when we lived there from 2009-2011. I found as a rule that vanity jars cost much less in England than they do here in the States.The intricate, interwoven design imprinted on the brass lid you see here is referred to as “guilloché,” which is covered with pink enamel. One of my favorites, I would value it at $40-60.00.
Another pretty jar, this example also bears a guilloché lid, but it is imprinted on paper and covered with a piece of clear plastic to protect it. The metal rim appears to be nothing more than pot metal.
Purchased here at home, I would value it at about $15.00.
This etched glass blue jar, purchased in England, also has a guilloché style lid
in a shell design. I’d value it at about $30.00.
Another English jar, also with a guilloché decorated lid, this one has some enamel loss, but is nonetheless a beautiful piece.
It’s also one of my favorites and I would value it at about $30.00 (more if in better condition).
Yet another car boot sale find, this jar has a beautifully embroidered lid with a decorative brass rim. I love the chunky base.
I put a value of about $35-40.00 on this one.
This brass-lidded jar is embossed “Made in England” on the bottom, and it has a unique tapestry insert on the lid.
I bought it, like the others, at a car boot sale; I’d value it at $20.00.
This pretty little jar, also from England, has a metal lid to which I believe some gold leaf has been applied. I wish I knew the name of the glass pattern. Any ideas?
.It’s seen better days, but I still treasure it. I’d value it at about $15.00
Oblong dresser containers are less common than round ones, and this example, bearing the same glass pattern as the jar above, came home with me from England (like many of the others).
The brass repoussé (or embossed) lid is lovely enough to almost make me forget that the glass base has a small chip 🙁 I’d value it at about $15.00 with the chip.
I have an absolutely amazing dumpster story that I promise to relate someday, and that’s where I discovered this little beauty with an embossed “pot metal” (mix of various metals) and glass, Victorian era piece.
It was the first in my vanity jar collection; I would price it at about $15-20.00.
Another find from our time in England, this jar with its brushed metal surface dates to about the 1970’s.
With its Redoute style botanical decoration, I would price it at $10-12.00.
I bought this pretty glass jar with the gilded lid here in the States.
The acorn pattern confirms that it dates to the Victorian era (late 1800’s). I would value it at about $12-15.00.
This clear, hobnailed jar, also an American buy, seems newer to me, but I can’t be sure.
It bears a modern sort of hobnail pattern; I’d value it at about $10-15.00.
Have you ever come across a vanity jar like this one, with a hole in the top and wondered, “What the heck?!” A woman would have kept one on her vanity and tucked in strands of hair collected from her brush or comb. The hair would have then been used to stuff a pin cushion or a hair “ratt,” a tiny pillow used to give height to her hair. Interesting, right?
Mine, with its pretty tulips, is marked “Richmond Bavaria” on the bottom and dates to the mid-1800’s. After 1871 you would find Bavaria, Germany. I would value this jar, which I purchased in the States, at about $10-12.00.
The last dresser jar, with it’s hand painted flowers and 22 karat gold gilding, bears no mark. My feeling is that it is Japanese, but I could be wrong (I was wrong once, a long time ago, lol).
Also purchased in the States, I would value it at $12.00 or so.
Thank you for taking the time to examine my vintage vanity jar collection–if you made it this far, you’re a true vintage lover! Since I bought most of my collection in England, I view it as a sort of souvenir of our time in that beautiful country. I don’t have another inch of space on my dresser, so I suspect that I have closed the door on future purchases. What do you collect? Are you still adding pieces? Where to you buy them? I’d love to here more about what vintage and antiques make your heart sing.
Thanks for stopping by!
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