This c. 1800 vinaigrette is a lovely piece from a bygone era. Popular from the mid-18th C. to the end of the 19th C., a vinaigrette was used by women (though sometimes also by men) to battle faintness. Inside each piece (which could come in a number of shapes and sizes) was a compartment for a sponge, which was filled with the vinegar.
A woman would open the top, hold the piece to her nose, and smell the strong scent through the openings in the silver. They were sometimes attached to a chain for a bracelet or even used as lockets. They were mostly, however, kept loosely in a pocket or handbag. This particular vinaigrette is sterling silver and is shaped in rectangular fashion. It comes from England. The top is engraved with a geometric pattern of lines that make up a checkered pattern. The center of this contains the ornate letters JS to ER. The bottom is engraved with another a similar pattern without the letters. The holes inside the compartment are a completely different pattern (laurel). The lip of the piece, which enables a person to open the box is floral. An excellent gift for that special someone.
L: 1 1/4 in. W: 7/8 in. H: 1/4 in.