This antique piece is most certainly worthy of the 'rare' designation. Because of the horse heads it is considered the rarest of all! Almost always found with damage to the delicate enamel or corrosion from salt or excessive tarnish, this specimen is as close to perfect as possible for an object ca. 1900.
Marius Hammer (his hallmark is found on the base along with the Norway silver standard of 930s) was a contemporary of Carl Faberge and like Carl for Russian enamels, Marius Hammer's works are considered the best works from Norway.
Plique-a-jour, or roughly translated as 'light of day' - refers to the suspension of enamel resulting in a stained glass effect. The suspended enamel is translucent (as can be seen in the two bottom views most closely).
The interior bottom is bright cobalt guilloche enamel (transparent layer of enamel over a machine-engineered ground).. The silver has been gold-plated. There are no missing panels.
It measures 3 3/8" long from head to head. The silver filigree work is delicately and masterfully executed. A truly astounding little survivor!
On a personal note, in the 25+ years that we have been antique dealers, we have never seen another one of these yet we found another with red on the inside bottom. Also we got to see one just like it on the Antiques Roadshow. If you write to us we can provide the link to the Roadshow's description and appraisal of this gorgeous little item! As you will see in that little video, their original evaluation went down from $7,000 in 2009 to $5,550-6,500 as recently as 2014.
The red bottom one is on our other website.
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