An English Snuff Box set with agate and mother-of-pearl, probably Birmingham, 18th century

This small circular snuff box has gilt-metal mounts set with an agate cover and a mother-of-pearl base. Four bands of chased floral decoration are arranged around the base, and the mother-of-pearl is held by a chased gilt dentil setting.

Condition: Very good – the agate and mother-of-pearl both have good colour, and the gilt metal is also bright. The gilt dentil and chased decoration is attractive. There is a little patination, wear and a minute loss to the gilt mount. The thumbpiece and hinged mechanism work well.

Dimensions: Diameter (at base) 4 cm

The Age of Enlightenment prompted a great deal of interest in the natural world, and saw an increase in the appreciation and use of specimens, such as agate and mother-of-pearl.

See The Collections of Hanns and Elizabeth Weinberg and the Antique Company of New York, for an oval box with an agate cover and gilt-metal mounts, Sotheby’s, New York, 10 & 11 November, 2006, lot 49.