I made a set of 8 jewelry boxes, 6 as gifts, and 2 as a donation for a charity auction. As my skills have matured, I've gravitated to using really nice wood for my projects. I bought this curly maple on Ebay and I was very happy with it. I used mitered corners, and then I splined them with dovetail shaped Wenge keys. I used the same shape Wenge keys for drawer handles. All of the drawer parts and dividers are curly maple as well. The toughest part of the project was making the black velvet drawer bottoms. I ended up using spray adhesive to adhere the velvet to thin stiff card stock.
I thought that doing a mini production run would save time, and it did for many steps, but the shear number of parts made it a little monotonous at times. Especially sanding all of the drawer dividers. I tried French Polishing on these, my first time.
I really like the wood property known as chatoyance. Here is a link to the wiki definition of chatoyance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatoyancy
I find that clear finishes really accentuate the chatoyance. If you need to color the wood, only use wood dye, stains are comprised of ground up minerals and will obscure the chatoyance. Many like to use BLO on the bare wood to "Pop" the grain. I find that this just makes the lively grain in the wood dark and contrasty with the rest of the piece. I find that BLO obscures the chatoyance as well. I prefer laquer or shellac. On this project I tried french polishing for the first time and it set me back at least a month. I must have redone them 10 times. It was too windy and cold to spray laquer outside so shellac was my only option.
Do an experiment. Buy a really nice piece of figured veneer. Sand and prep as usual, and then finish 1/2 with a clear finish, spray can of laquer from the home depot will work. When you move the piece around under the light, you will see chatoyance. Now hit the other side with BLO and then clear finish. Most of the chatoyance will disappear as the BLO soaked into and darkened the most figured areas. IMHO BLO makes the grain pop for a picture, but when you walk around a piece with chatoyance it's magic. I'm pretty passionate about this, I'm not trying to caues any fights.