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Seeking advice on display cases

Hi Folks,

I’m finally getting serious about doing some festivals and shows…
to the point that I need to decide on some display cases. There are a
number of choices out there, and I don’t want to shell out the money
only to find that my choice of case isn’t well suited for my needs.

I’d be interested in hearing any advice and/or suggestions on this
matter from those of you out there doing shows. As food for thought
and an idea what I’m looking at, take a look at these choices:

I’m leaning toward the boxy ones halfway down the page with a single
interior shelf, but again, am open to any feedback! Do I really want
no interior shelf?

Thanks in advance! Other vendors and models that recommended will
also be considered!


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Dave, I have used Arizona Case fold down display cases for the last
five years. They are easy to set up, give your booth a profrssional
look, and pack away into a suitcase style box. The only draw backs
are they are heavy and quite expensive. Arizona Case website is

Gerry Galarneau

The cases you are looking at are some of the mid range quality cases,
which I use. You can spend more for them but unless you are doing
shows every weekend, this vendors cases will work quite nicely for
you. As with any of the cases, lighting is a problem as well as
security You should chose a case that you can lock and one that you
can light up to show your product. While you might not want to keep
it locked while the show is in progress, you do want one that someone
cannot reach into easily when you are distracted. Just make believe
you are a thief and see how easy it would be to snatch a piece from
your display. If it looks difficult, then you have a good setup.
Also look at how easy it will be to display a single item to a
customer. IE do you have a “table top” or case top to work from. A
lot of these questions can only be answered with time and experience,
but keep them in mind as go into the shows.

The Allstate case products are a reasonable tradeoff for cost/value.
You can contact them directly. check out their web site.


Hi! I have a trick you can use: take a piece of wood (plywood) drill
holes into it, cover it in velvet, (it could also be mirror wit holes,
but more $) then you can pass a thin metal thread through each of the
holes. Below the board you attach a fishing weight to the thread, at
the other end (top above the board) you attach the ring or other
object. If you attach a ring and it is a little sideways, when you
move the weight it will start to dance. You can also attach the rings
to antennae using little tube with a thin thread through them. This
allows customers to pick up rings, try them on, but not leave with
them. You can place the board horizontally or (using less space and
easyier to light) vertically. You can also use thin aluminium-sheet and
bend it to make a round counter. You would make wood sides and fix the
aluminium to dictate the sheets shape. It is the cladding of the
surface you choose that dictates the style of your stall. Remember the
blue ceiling (use a fabric “sail”) to enhance the colour of stones.

Hope this is of any help. Regards
Poidi Trauttmansdorff

Dear Dave,

You need to clarify a few things before your questions about display
cases can best be answered. For instance, how will you travel to
shows? If driving, then heavier, bulkier cases might be OK; if
flying, you’ll probably want something lighter that can be broken
down. Also, what kind of lighting are you thinking about? Lighting
is actually the most important consideration at shows. Some modular
case systems (like Abstracta) include lighting options. Otherwise,
you can go with overhead track lighting (necessitates something to
attach the track to) or clamp-on lights (versatile, but not, I think,
as effective as overhead lighting). Check the following site for

And, finally, what are you going to put the cases on? If you use
flat cases on regular tables, then you should raise the legs of the
tables to get the jewelry closer to a comfortable eye level for the
customer. (Wood dowels inside hollow legs or PVC pipe over solid legs
should work.) Alternatively, you may want display bases that are
adjustable (again, like Abstracta) or are made at the proper height
for jewelry, such as those at this web site:

A word about Abstracta (, which I keep mentioning.
Advantages: It’s an extremely versatile, modular system which can be
configured any way you want it. Disadvantages: It’s very heavy and
takes a long time to set up.

Here’s another semi-modular alternative: Plexiglass walls cut to any
size you want, with lightweight, brushed aluminum connectors
(available from Daniels Display Co. in San Francisco, 415-861-4400).

As for the cases on the web site you referred to, they are bulky,
heavy and not easily collapsible (as far as I can tell). Also, you
want your jewelry on a fairly plain background (not glass or mirrors)
for easiest viewing, so you’ll want liners for your cases
(fabric-covered foam core works well; so do various art papers).
Internal shelves are not a good idea; one level of viewing per case is

Misc. considerations: 1) Be sure you get lockable cases for
security. 2) Think hard about glass (scratch-resistant, expensive,
heavy, fragile) versus plexiglass (easily scratched, relatively cheap,
lighter, durable). 3) The most beautiful, custom-built displays I’ve
seen at shows are also the heaviest and most expensive to ship.

In summary, there’s no perfect system (or I’d be using it!). I
suggest you spend more time at shows in your area checking out various
options and asking questions before you spend money! Take a camera
and ask permission to shoot various displays for later reference.
Good luck!


Hi Dave, The opinion you are about to receive about display cases is
totally personal, but it does come from some base of experience.

Your booth, your cases included, have the power to draw people from
the heavy stream of casual shoppers that flow past your booth into a
more intimate experience with your work individually. Many jewelers
use these folding metal style “pop-top” cases. You may want to go the
more labor intensive but personalized way and do something different.
If you use the popular pop tops I think you need to make more of an
effort to make the rest of your booth special.

My cases are slant top oak with a back that opens so the base pulls
out and I can arrange the jewelry and slide the bottom in and out.
They get many compliments but definitely have drawbacks. They are not
that flexible and they are really heavy.

The “best” cases I have seen consist of different heights and widths
of plexiglass cubes. The bottom sits on a black wood base and the top
consists of plexi for the shorter cases or a black grid of coated wire
on the top for the tall cases. As these cases are individual you can
move them around for all kinds of set-ups. You can hang pendants from
the grid in the tall cases. You can fill the bottoms of the cases with
different material to enhance the pieces in each case. The bottoms can
be painted any color you want. They really stand out in the crowd. Of
course you would either have to do these yourself or hire it out.
Anyway, booth individuality is something to think about in the crowded
jewelry field.


Thanks, everyone, for your feedback! Lots of food for thought… not
going to be as easy a decision as I had hoped! I’ll be driving in my
van, so weight and bulk aren’t primary considerations… as always,
getting as much “bang for my buck” is important. I really appreciate
the thoughts about having a display and cases that are a bit more
upscale since it makes an unspoken statement what’s inside. Since I’ll
be using the “standard” white EZ-Up canopy, it’s going to be more
important to be visually different than other folks.

Ironic that Steve asked about tents at the same time! We didn’t plan
that! I also gleaned form that thread, but my decision had
already been made, for better or for worse.

I planned on setting up the cases on a long “standard” folding table,
for which I had a maroon cover made a few years ago. Given Beth’s
insight on display height, I’m going to rethink that strategy. If I
raise the table, the cover will be far too short. Hmmm…

At this point I think I’m farther away from a solution than I was
before I sent my question in! Going back to square one and reevaluating
the overall situation will save me from having to start over and
retool down the road. As always, you folks have allowed me to learn
from your experience, and I appreciate your sharing!

All the best,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Dave, Maybe to stay inexpensive you could keep the table & it’s
cover and put your cases up on something else. Maybe boxes or wood
that could be draped separately. Beth’s point about a good height was
a good thing to remember.


My husband and I do shows both indoors and outside and yes, sometimes
a different table height can cause problems. A suggestion as to the
table coverings when you have different height requirements: I use
finished 3’ wide strips of cloth to make a lower border. On the
underside of the top cloth, I use wide masking tape or similar to tape
the extra skirting at the appropriate height. Taping horizontally
will give you a nice even edge. If you wish to get fancy, you can
"scallop" with vertical tape placed every 18 inches or so.

Judy Shaw
Jasco Minerals
at the turn off to the Gore Mtn. Garnet Mines in North River, NY,
(USA)…the official state gemstone for New York.

Hi Dave,

    I planned on setting up the cases on a long "standard" folding
table, for which I had a maroon cover made a few years ago. Given
Beth's insight on display height, I'm going to rethink that
strategy. If I raise the table, the cover will be far too short.

Here is a trick to raise that table. I have been using this for a few
years. Cut sections of PVC pipe and slide them onto the table legs
and add end caps. Use the heavy SCH 40 - 1 inch PVC. Eight inch
sections work well for me. I have also added wheels to the bottom of
the table so that when the legs are folded, it becomes a large dolly
with rope handles.

Good luck with the shows

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

    Hi Dave, Maybe to stay inexpensive you could keep the table &
it's cover and put your cases up on something else. Maybe boxes or
wood that could be draped separately. Beth's point about a good
height was a good thing to remember. 

And work toward eventually getting the table up to the recommended
height so you can save your back when doing the paperwork on all the
sales. Makes the show feel days shorter when you’re not in pain.:slight_smile:

I recommend that you consider shifting the table cover so it reaches
the floor in the front of your raised table and adding a topper to the
table cover in the same or (tastefully) contrasting fabric so the top
surface is continuous and there is a bit safely draped down the back
side (your side) long enough to conceal anything you might be storing
beneath the table. Having a raised table surface also allows you to
place something under the table to hold your sales books, calculator,
extra business cards, snack, etc. so the clutter is not on your
display; if the back skirt is long you can tuck it behind this box,
shelf or what-have-you or if shorter and in your way, just tape the
excess to the underside of the table so you can reach things easily
when you need them.

Pam Chott

I’m thinking about this, too, in the back of my head, and my first
thought about the table height was, what about people in wheelchairs?
I don’t know why I thought that, I’ve been thinking about displays and
booths and doing shows, for at least a year now, and this is the first
time it occurred to me.

Just a random thought.

Christine in Littleton Mass., USA, where the (under)ground water
level has finally dropped.