This c. 1800 vinaigrette is a beautiful object from a bygone era. Popular from the mid-18th C. to the end of the 19th C., a vinaigrette was used by women (though sometimes also by men) to battle faintness. Inside each piece (which could come in a number of shapes and sizes) was a compartment for a sponge, which was filled with the vinegar. This particular one contains the original sponge, which can be taken out.
A woman would open the top, hold the piece to her nose, and smell the strong scent through the openings in the silver. They were sometimes attached to a chain for a bracelet or even used as lockets. They were mostly, however, kept loosely in a pocket or handbag. This particular vinaigrette is sterling silver and is shaped in rectangular fashion. It comes from England. The top is engraved with a grape pattern along with the letters ABC. The bottom is engraved with another floral pattern. The holes inside the compartment also are in geometric floral patterns. An eclectic piece for the interested collector.
L: 1 1/4 in. W: 7/8 in. H: 1/2 in.