An interesting and relatively rare gentleman’s fob with concealed vinaigrette. Eighteen karat yellow gold is decorated with a pattern of flowers, leaves and shells applied in rose and green gold with a level of craftsmanship that was complex and highly popular during the French Restoration period of the early 1800s. An oval facetted Chrysoprase conceals a secret compartment with a reservoir that extends up both sides of the body, which would have contained either a tiny sponge or piece of cotton wool soaked in perfume. Typically vinaigrettes are fitted with a pierced grille, but there appears to be no room for the placement of a grille in the construction of this piece.
During the French romantic era the trend leaned toward the oversized in fobs, chains, earrings and other pieces of jewelry. Large fobs, seals and charms were worn together and known as “charivaris” (from the ancient Greek ‘karebaria’, or headache) for the racket they made when knocked together. This piece would have been costly to create, and therefore is a relatively rare, precious item that would have been for the aristocratic and upper classes. Chrysoprase is an apple-green colored chalcedony, most likely from Eastern Europe, sometimes confused with jadeite.
Very good condition, noting a dent on one side of the body. An additional ring can be added so the fob may be worn on a chain. Additional photos are always available upon request.
Hallmarks: ram’s head for 18k items made in France, 1819 - 1838; maker’s mark “J. D.” with a star on the inside of the body.
Dimensions: 1 ½ ” x 1 1/4” x 7/8” overall; the stone measures 23mm x 18mm
Gross weight: 17.8 grams