From the Louis-Philippe era, very early 1800s, comes this wonderful and large jewelry box made in that very early protein casein material we sometimes see as mimic of tortoise shell, and this one mimics the look of mother of pearl. This one has the look of mother of pearl, but it is made of slabs of that early composite material "casein", so is 'faux'. You can see that there was some sort of a mounted cartouche up top, and now only the 4 small mounting holes remain. I suspect it would have been a Sevres plaque, or perhaps a souvenir miniature painting on back of glass - a view of Paris landmark. These were popular as Grand Tour souvenirs and also as gifts. A charming box, good sized - larger than about any we've had of this type or made with the similar faux tortoise shell panels.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. The caskets made like this nearly always have some damage to that fragile old substance, and this one has a bit as you can see. But there are no panels missing, and it displays beautifully alongside your opaline eggs and mother of pearl egg-like whimsical trinkets from the Palais Royal. Interior is still intact, slightly faded but surprisingly unscathed for its age. A lovely reminder of an elegant time, and a rare fine example of this type of French box.
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Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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