This delightful Scandinavian silver item is of the style of those apparently given by a young man as a love token and declared his proposal of marriage. It is of silver and hallmarked for the maker, Johan Christian Bernbaum who was apparently active between 1824-1859 in Hobro, Denmark (and similar items by this maker are considered to be sterling). This small urn-shaped item is further decorated with two side handles and eleven coloured stones – three of green and eight of red. The top section is hinged and when opened reveals a gilded interior which was apparently used as a vinaigrette, so one presumes a large wad soaked in a perfume or restorative aromatic fluid would be held in this space. The foot of the urn is also hinged and opens to reveal another space which possibly contained aromatic ambergris. A suggestion has been made that this may have been for a ring but it does not appear to be of appropriate dimensions. On the base are the marks ‘I C B’ for the maker and a dot-date of 1855 as well as a series of initials, presumably those of one of the young couple. The condition is very good for age. This would make a charming addition to a collection of unusual silver items, particularly those in the form of other structures, or look pretty in your display of small pieces of silver. Height 3.5 ins (9cm), width 2 ins (5cm). Weight 34 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 70.
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