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Superb Antique French Faux Tortoise Shell & Ormolu Jewelry Box, Casket c. 1830
A charming little glass-topped Palais Royal type jewelry casket dating c.1810-30s, complete and original with lock and working key, and the beveled serpentine glass top still perfect. This is made with panels of faux tortoise shell - a casein resin-like substance the French used to mimic tortoise shell. It is definitely not real tortoise shell. The material is steamed and formed to fit the open ormolu framework, and it has no wooden backing so it was always prone to damage, cracks, loss to the casein panels. You see in this one there is some hairlines, cracks, but no outright losses to the panels. I suspect someone has done some resin-based restoration to these panels. Look at them closely. Still, as rare as these are in any form, this one is spectacular. It's large at 5.5" long, and to have the working lock and key is also quite rare. I think the silk satin lining is likely the old original, too. Such a beauty!
Very good condition for age and type - as noted above this casein faux tortoise shell is never fully intact after all these years. This one hasn't any completely missing places, though it has the typical cracking. What a rare lovely and large example of a charming Palais Royal trinket of early 1800s!
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San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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