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Antique French Mother of Pearl "egg" Jewelry Box, Casket, Ormolu Leaves & Butterfly
A glorious "egg" to add to your Easter celebration, or just to join your collection of early to mid-1800s mother of pearl shell trinkets of France. These egg-shaped caskets often were made with opaline glass rather than the half-shells, but I think I'm more thrilled by the pearl ones. They share the dore ormolu framework, the style, and probably their original boutique market along the promenade of the old Palais Royal, former palace of Cardinal Richelieu. Imagine shelves and window displays of multitudes of these charming items - the ones made up as miniature carriages pulled by pressed brass horses, dogs, goats, donkeys and the more rare swans, butterflies, etc.. Whimsical and lovely, they existed out of reach of the common man/woman, and were marketed to the elite, Royals and dignitary clientele that used the Palais Royal as a social center in 1700s and 1800s. We'd date this one c.1840-60.
Very good to excellent condition, no chips nor cracks or hairlines in either of the half-shells and no breaks or loss to the pressed brass and heavy wire framework of the casket. Well hinged, and the clasp holds tightly closed. High pearlescent shimmer both inside and out. A very fine one, with the added bonus of a butterfly up top. I love this one! Oh, and it has the vine coils that would hold a pen there above the "egg". It would be unusual for anyone to think of this as an inkwell, but there's the interesting form. Perhaps those hooks are to hold jewelry or pocket watch, instead?
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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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