I think all that has gone missing over the 150 or more years since this one was made might be a natural wafer on which one might make notes with the stylus or pencil that does remain with the set. How rare to find a fine old tortoiseshell sewing etui in such fine condition, and so complete. Even a tiny tape measure remains. The set would likely be English in origin, though I see no markings to confirm it. A fine shell etui, original violet colored silk interior in quite fine condition, as well. Nice sized, perfect display piece or one you might well wish to use.
Very good condition, the etui is itself very good to excellent. You can replace whatever implements you choose to if you wish to upgrade to, say, sterling scissors. The set is large enough to allow a bit of shifting. The shell on this one is just simply stunning!
The vast majority of worked and antique object tortoise shell material comes from the shells of two species of sea turtles: the hawksbill (Eretmo-chelys imbricata) and, more rarely, the green turtle (see box A). The shells of these turtles exhibit attractive patterns that normally consist of light to dark brown patches, though a homogeneous “cream”-colored variety called blond tortoise shell also exists. We (and all but DNA test experts) are unable to distinguish between Asian and African elephant ivory, and c.1400-1800s trade routes bringing same into Europe sourced both.
IMPORTANT NOTE regarding antique tortoise shell or ivory: We are great supporters of protection for endangered species in our modern world. We never buy or sell anything 100 years or newer; we donate to anti-poaching organizations; we don't hunt; we conserve in ways that impact global warming (we're totally solar at home), knowing those measures also protect the animals in the wild today. We also recognize the vast cultural history we preserve with our care and reverence for these antique objects, and agree with CITES that objects over 100 years of age have nothing whatsoever to do with species depletion in our current world. We do hold a USDFW import/export license, as well.
Our offering exceeds the age limitation of "more than 100 years of age", and is well within the exemption for CITES regulation. If imported, met the CITES regulation. This item will be handled and shipped from our Utah business, and is not available for shipment internationally, nor within the USA to California, NY, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington if it contains ivory, sorry. Please see our small print for more details.