Navajo Sterling Silver Pill Boxes

Handmade sterling silver Navajo boxes vary greatly in size and can be used for meds or Tums or….stamps ! In fact, some of the small square ones used to be called “stamp boxes” when we had small square stamps and used them. Today the round boxes are usually referred to as pill boxes. Deeper boxes are great to store a precious piece of jewelry, to save a tooth for the tooth fairy or to collect just because they are such wonderful works of art. Larger sterling silver boxes are like little treasure chests and are prized possessions.

To make a small sterling silver box, the artist must go through many steps:

Two rectangles of the same size are cut from a sterling silver sheet.

The corners are notched.

The sides of the bottom are bent and soldered to form the correct size.

Two short strips of sterling silver tubing are soldered on the back of the bottom. This will be the basis for the hinges.

Wire is put through the tubing and bent into a V shape.

The sheet that will be the top is stamped with a design.

The top is then pressed onto a lead die to form its shape.

The edges of the top are bent and the corners are soldered.

A stone is selected.

A bezel is made and soldered in the center of the lid.

The hinge wire is very carefully soldered to the box top.

The stone is set.

The box is finished (pickeled, polished or antiqued.)

Hi Paula,

I am interested in buying some pill boxes for Christmas presents. Please let me know the sizes of the following boxes displayed on your website:

Boxes by J Castillo:  BX601, BX614, BX623
Box by L Yazzie: BX624

Thank you, Professor RWC

Hello Professor,

Each of those pill boxes has its own individual page that not only tells you
the dimensions but also shows more photo views, so, although I can provide
that info for you – it really would be best for you to go to those pages so you can see all of the information and where the order buttons are located.

When you are on the Navajo Sterling Silver Box page just click on the box you are interested it, for example for BX601, it will take

you to the page for that particular box where you can see the sizes, hallmarks, and another view of the box.

Please let me know if I can help further. Paula

Hi again Paula,

Thanks.  I did not realize I could click on the picture for more information.  I looked at them and have another question. They do not seem to have a latch to keep them shut. If I put some aspirin in one and put it in my pocket or in a purse, will it stay shut? Or is it necessary to put a rubber band around the boxes to keep them shut? Prof RWC

Hi Ray,

They have little protrusions on the pill box and corresponding dimples on the lid so the lids click shut. I’ve carried several in my purse for years and never had one open. If you look at this one, for example,

and look at the photo where the pill box is open, –  if you look directly across from the hinge, at the front of the case, you will see a little protrusion (nipple), then if you look at the open lid you will see a corresponding dimple.

This is called a nipple click closure and here is another example that might
show it better

Except for the treasure chest which has a hasp latch and the deep round boxes which have friction fit closures, all pill boxes have a nipple click lock closures.

I didn’t realize that we hadn’t pointed this out better on our pages………thanks for the question !


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