Ballerina Music Box

Lenox ballerina jewellry box
Typical mid-century ballerina jewel box
The  ballerina music box is almost an obligatory feature of every little girl's childhood...or rather, it used to be. In the id 20th century, there was a fashion for black lacquered jewellery boxes, decorated in oriental designs.The tiny twirling  ballerina was usually set on a small ledge (stage) in front of a miniature corridor of mirrors. As music boxes go, she's a tradition, the ballerina being among the first figures to be used in music boxes . Sometimes the figure was on her own and sometimes with a male partner in a tuxedo.  With or without a partner, the ballerina danced to the tinkling music every time a child opens the lid and the box itself is a perfect place to put the small treasures of childhood.

Oriental design, typical of music boxes in the 50s/60s.
From a child's perspective, there is something magical and fascinating about ballerina boxes still and they still make an entrancing gift for little girls. Unfortunately, some of the contemporary ones are a little cheap and nasty, with only a triangle mirror and a rough-cast ballerina who looks as though she might  buckle under the pressure of multiple opening and closing.

Origin of the Music Box
Music jewel boxes actually have their origins in 18th century musical snuff boxes, which were small enough to fit into a waistcoat pocket. In the 19th century, Swiss manufacturers developed the mechanics and music boxes were made in all shapes and sizes - from the very small to as big as a chest of drawers. It's interesting to consider that at that time, musical boxes were the main form of 'home music' that wasn't played by a human, since there was no such thing as radios or gramophones.

In the technological whirlwind of the 20th century, music boxes remained a popular mainly as a novelty item. The sweet, tinkling tune of a popular 18 note music box has a unique and delicate sound that evokes a kind of wistful nostalgia....