This jar is from my own collection. I have it displayed with my inkwells, since I believe it would serve very well if put to such use. It is actually some kind of dresser or vanity jar, whose actual original function I am not sure of. It once had a stopper, which was gone when I acquired it. Like a smelling salts bottle, it has a cylindrical shape, but it is much fatter. In any case, it is a beautiful piece, with fantastic, deeply chased, silver work.
The jar is in very good condition. You can see that inside of the bottom glass is covered densely with mineral deposits. The walls of the jar have deposits as well, but they are not nearly as dense, and because the silver work is very dense as well, you see very little of the walls anyway, as you should be able to tell from my large pictures. It doesn’t really matter now, since there is no stopper, but I will just note that there is a “5” acid etched into the bottom, and the stopper would have had that same number. The glass on the outside of the bottom has the typical scratches you see on antique vessels like this.
Much of the gold wash inside the top of the jar and around the rim remains. You can see some wear along the bottom of the rim and spots inside the top. I did not try to polish the spots for fear I would remove the gold. Since you will be displaying the jar closed, the gold will not be visible, but it is nice to know that the wash remains in very good condition. One other nice thing about the top is the fact that it still snaps closed tightly. There is a tiny raised “bump” on the rim that facilitates the lock-tight connection. Actually, this jar is better than the actual antique silver inkwells I own; I would have to double check, but I believe all or most of them do NOT have a secure closure, so there is/was more likelihood of the ink evaporating from them than from this vessel.
As I am showing you in my first image, the jar is marked in two places. The markings on the top are clear and sharp. They are STERLING to the left of the tripartite Alvin mark. The marks on the bottom back of the bottle are less clear and smaller, but you should still be able to read them. The leftmost mark is PATENTED, followed by the design number, 371, followed by 999/1000 FINE, indicating almost pure silver (sterling is 925 parts per thousand). Last is the Alvin mark once again.
Speaking of markings, the cartouche has a fancy Art Nouveau monogram, which fits right in with the general design of the overlay work. There are three intertwined letters, which, to me, look like “JWC,” but you are welcome to your own construal.
I mentioned that this jar is probably NOT for smelling salts, since it is much bigger than those bottles tend to be. It is 3 1/8 inches tall by 2 inches in diameter and weighs a hefty-for-its size 7 1/2 ounces! That is because both the glass and silver are very thick.
Just so you know that I checked, there is no silver missing or lifted, and there are no cracks in the glass. The silver has the typical small dents, dings, and scratches you tend to see on antique items like this, but nothing is egregious, as you should be able to see from my large pictures.
I can’t think of anything else, but please write if you have a question. If you collect silver overlay or know someone who does, this jar will delight either you or the lucky person who receives it as a gift—no matter what you (or they) decide to use it for, or, even, as I have done, “merely” put it on display.
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