With the bale up top, likely worn on a silver or gold chain, or perhaps from a chatelaine, this dainty little 18k vermeil interior and sterling silver box is a vinaigrette. Into it would be a wad of wool or cotton onto which drops of scented oils or perfume would be added. One need only open the cover and hold near one's nose to manage the odor of a mid-Victorian walk through a crowd or on the busy streets of humans or animals (horse-drawn carriages) and the sewage often cast into the streets. It was a necessity, and the vinaigrettes remain a very popular little antique as jewelry or for perfume and scent collectors. Measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition throughout. Bears hallmarks telling us it's from Birmingham and was made in 1857. The interior and perforated grate have a layering of gold (vermeil) which would not corrode with the oils/scents, and it is nicely preserved in full. The box is sterling silver, of course. No dents, no flaws to note. A bale so it can be worn.