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Jewel Boxes of Bradford Southwest Style Jewel Boxes

Southwest style boxes have interesting patterns, are often multi-coloured and may have zig-zag or pyramid elements which give them a distinctive look and feel. The colouring is reflective of the climate and will range from reddish earth tones reminiscent of the desert to the bright reds, greens and turquoise colours of Mexican style artwork. The patterns will include sunflowers, snakes and other fantastic creatures of the Aztec and Mayan cultures. The boxes may feature fretwork and carving to bring out the cultural and stylistic elements of the boxes. They will typically use traditional style hinges, wooden or leather hinges.

These are colorful, vivid designs - they fit into bright, Mexican, US Southwest, Latin American and Spanish style decors.

Picture Description and Construction Pricing
Southwest Style with fretwork and sunflower carving on lid

Click on images to see a larger version.

This Jewel box is made of mountain grown Mexican Pine -- very similar to Ponderosa Pine grown in the Western Canadian Mountain ranges near Merritt, BC or the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It is much denser than White Pine, and has a lot more resin in the (red coloured) heart wood. This particular pine probably came from Durango State - near La Ciudad de Durango close to the Mazatlan-Durango highway as it was purchased from a distributor that buys wood from this area.

Jewel boxes of this style are fun to make -- even if the difficulty level is high. The small size of the carved elements, and the relatively soft wood means that compromises must me made in the level of detail that can be carved.

Carved Elements:

  • The sun flower took a few days to carve and stain. The sun flower appears in many forms in Mexican and South West cultures - stylized and realistic forms as it is here.
  • The double headed snake in the fretworks also took a few days to cut, carve and stain. The research to find appropriate colours took a little while as well. The snakes in Mexican culture are often green, but are sometimes painted blue (azure) or turquoise -- depending on their role in the particular story or religious depiction. Many snakes are tiled (tessellated) in the turquoise gem if they represent a particular Aztec or Mayan god.
  • This box is not yet finished, so the snakes still need some paint to represent scales, and other features particular to Mexican culture. Stay tuned...

A Second view.

A Third view.


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Updated January 17, 2005