If I gave one at that age I think I would leave it empty. Tell her she can start storing her own stuff in it like those journals and maybe some really special stuff that she has collected throughout the years. Dishes and dish towels are nice, but I don't think she is ready for those yet...right? LOL!! I know that I wasn't.
I did get my cedar chest when I was 18, and graduating from high school. That was my gift from my parents. That is what I will give to my 4 daughters as well. Mine was empty. I did get married 4 months later though and it was filled with all the gifts that I received eventually, only to be emptied and then filled with stuff that was most precious to me. I have in it now the letters that I wrote to DH and he to me as we were dating, a big afgan that my maternal grandmother made me, a baby afgan that my paternal grandmother made my oldest son (her 1st great grandchild), my christening dress that I wore at 5 months, my sons christening outfits, my daughters' christening dress, some old tapes from high school, some things that my grandparents gave me when I was younger and even a baby. I also have the January 1, 2000 edition of our city newspaper, the newspapers the week of Sept. 1, 2001 and a newspaper with the article of my 7th sibling (8th child) to have graduated from the same high school as all the rest of us kids (we made history as having the most children to have graduated from that school). I have the Christmas stockings in there as I don't trust the bugs or whatever else is up in the attic (LOL!).
Maybe you can put some special things in there that you have kept for her over the years, and she will think it's cool.