The Art of Boxes – Ercolano and Penhaligon’s

  • Posted on 30th April 2013 by Alex
  • The luxury marquetry and lacquer jewelry boxes sold in Penhaligon’s boutiques are made in Italy by Ercolano, an artisanal family firm based in Sorrento near Naples.

  • The company was founded in the 1940s and the designs created over the years for Penhaligon’s are bespoke and exclusive.
    Marquetry is an exacting and precise craft. Coloured pieces of veneer are fitted together on a wooden ground, creating picture and patterns. Sanded and polished into place in temperature controlled environments to prevent warping and splitting. Most of this process is done by hand, demanding a very high level of skill from the Ercolano craftsmen. The vivid black and white deco style boxes are realised using fruits essences and the resulting pieces can often vary in tone, making each box unique. Each Ercolano jewellery or cufflink box is finished off with several coats of lacquer and polished to a high gloss finish.  The black lacquer boxes have between 12-15 layers of lacquer on them, polished to produce sparkling jewel-like effects.
    The boxes are lined inside with Alcantara, a trade marked anti-tarnish suede lining which will prevent any gold and silver from oxidizing while being stored.
    Some simple care instruction will help protect the Ercolano boxes.
    • The lacquer surfaces can scratch. This will happen over time anyway and add to the character of the boxes. But a little care and attention will prolong the life of lacquer. A soft cloth is best for wiping over the surfaces, Egyptian cotton is ideal.
    • The boxes should be kept out of direct sunlight as this can cause fading, splitting and warping of the lacquer.
    • Any tarnishing of the hinges can be easily removed with a silver cloth.
    • To remove any dust or lint build-up inside the box, use a low tack tape to lift out the dust gently.
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