La Pierre did such nice silver overlay work, and I am pleased to offer you this wonderful and rare example. This is a chatelaine perfume bottle, meant to be worn on a chatelaine, a chain that the Victorian lady of the house wore around her waist on which she carried keys and other small household items. That is the purpose of the loop on the back.
You just don't see many silver overlay chatelaine bottles, so it is nice to find this one in good (but not perfect) condition with clearly discernible marks. It was tricky to do, because the marks go around the curve of the bottle and there is some tarnish around them, but I believe you can see all three marks: the stylized cursive “L” mark for La Pierre, which is actually the blending of the founder’s initials, “FL” for Frank La Pierre, the word “STERLING,” and the design number, “166.” The bottle is a reasonably big size for this kind of bottle, measuring 3 1/8 inches long by a bit less than 3/4 inch in diameter.
Perhaps the most noticeable condition item is that the bottle lacks its original glass stopper. That never mattered to me in all the years it has been in my collection and displayed with my other silver overlay items in my vitrine. But I found a perfectly fitting cork that serves as a tight stopper. On a similar theme, the hinged beaded lid of the bottle closes with satisfactorily secure friction, but there is no definitive “snap” when you close it. I believe that the bump in front has worn down over time, and it does not have enough substance left to catch the edge of the lid. Like the absence of a stopper, this closure issue has never bothered me and should not bother you if you want to display it. I am certain, however, that a jeweler could easily fix it with some silver solder.
I have pretty much detailed the bottle’s more noteworthy flaws, but it is really in very good condition. The beautifully detailed silver work is complete and closely adhered to the glass. The glass has no chips or cracks (just some minuscule roughness around the bottom edge), and it is clean inside, with just a tiny speckling of residue at the very bottom. Of course, the silver has the little dents and dings you would associate with an item that was actually used; these occur primarily on the cap. Finally, the bottle would probably look even more beautiful with some polishing. I did a bit of polishing before taking my pictures, but you might want to do some more.
I can’t think of anything else to tell you, but please write if you have any questions. Today's women do not wear chatelaines, but the bottle would make a great purse perfume (I filled it with water and shook it vigorously, and it doesn't leak, although you should have the closure locking mechanism looked at before you carry the bottle around in your purse). If you wanted to show off the bottle you could also wear it on a chain around your neck, or, just do as I do with my other chatelaines, display it in among your other silver overlay pieces. This is a beautiful bottle, and it will be a wonderful addition to your collection—or the collection of someone you love.
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