A pair of peacocks display their sapphire-encrusted tails on the lid of this breathtaking antique box. The peacocks flank an urn-shaped fountain and are surrounded by a border filled with sapphires and emeralds. Every surface of the exterior is elaborately engraved with another urn appearing on the back, this time filled with flowers. The inside of the box is gilded and features a beveled mirror.
The box is constructed of gilt silver and is set with a rainbow of sapphires in shades of blue, pink , and yellow with a few of the darker pink sapphires edging towards the color of rubies (sapphire and rubies are both the mineral corundum; certain shades of red are classified as rubies, while all other colors of corundum are classified as sapphires).
SIZE: 3-3/16" across x 2-3/16" x 1/2"
MARKS: "800" indicating that it is made from 800 silver. The box is almost certainly of Italian origin.
AGE: early 20th century
CONDITION: there is one small stone missing in the upper left quadrant and possibly one tiny stone is missing on one of the peacocks. A few of the stones have small chips. The gilding has worn off much of the exterior of the box, giving it an overall soft tone somewhere between gold and silver. The gilding on the inside of the box is vibrant gold, but very scratched. There are a few dark spots on the mirror. None of this detracts from the beauty of this box.
Antique Box with Sapphire and Emerald Peacocks