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Petit Antique Georgian 1700s French Bonboniere (Bon bon) or Snuff Box, "D'amitie"
A fabulous little treasure of the mid-late 1700s, these boxes were filled with small confections (bonbon) and given as tokens of love and friendship. This one is particularly special in that it's decoration is foil-backed and hand decorated along with the dedication, "Donnea par L'amitia", or "Given with my affection" The body of the box is blond shell and has a few bug nips on rim/edges, visible in our images. The top is a convex glass within whack the delicate sea foam blue-green garland of flowers and leaves lies against a deep cobalt blue that is foil-backed so it shimmers in light. Little seed pearls and some darker tiny seeds or something have been used to encircle the center cartouche and some of those are missing. The interior has an old mirror, the original, and you can see that it's got the typical stumble of age. These boxes are wonderful to collect and display. They are historic in that they represent how precious commodities like sugar and cocoa or chocolate was in that era. Exotic, even, the early import of sugar was guarded within a home by locked sugar caddies. And the little confections were a spectacular treat, just a few in a small box was considered a rare treasure; a fine gift, so the boxes confectioners had made for their goods are also fine prizes today. I am certain this is a confectioner's box, but many will mistake it for a more common snuff box based on size, shape. Confectionery boxes are far more rare.
Good to very good for age and type, a few nips on the shell - bug bites, quite literally, and a little disruption to the decoration within the domed or convex glass cover up top. Mirror shows its age, definitely, but is not broken or cracked. No cracks or breaks to the piece. The imperfections are age alone, as you can see. Most of these did not survive, and they were often one of a kind productions. Beautiful reminders of the era of Marie-Antoinette and the history of chocolate, sugar and confections so precious, they were given in beautiful boxes. Fun to collect!
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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