Smallish, just 5 1/2" long, this is an early 1800s Napoleonic era, Empire casket which would have been the souvenir of an unnamed chocolatier's or confectioner's confections, meant to be kept as a memento or keepsake of the exquisite experience of the flavors of the chocolates. The earlier these boxes are, the smaller they are as the price of both chocolate and sugar were very high. Some say higher than gold per ounce not long before this box presented its paper-wrapped bonbons. Likely from the Palais Royal, or near it, treats for an evening of opera or theater. The lower part of this very opulent box is cut crystal. The top is the more typical card and paper with a padded fabric top, perhaps as a display for brooches - a jewelry box with those very Napoleon legs, embossed paper trim. Heavy due to the thick crystal, a very rare museum piece among these boxes. Full measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent for age and type. These chocolatier's boxes were meant to be kept after the chocolates were all consumed, as a memory or gift of the evening. Surprisingly, this cut crystal one, heavy and yet fragile, has no damage and no chips or breaks, attesting to the care someone's family went to to keep it. Perhaps it was a gift of chocolates on the night an ancestor said yes to a marriage proposal - something like that? The lid, more usual, is card and embossed paper in gold, a padded center top would have been opulent silk velvet, but much of the silk nap has given itself over to time. The lid rests in the lip provided, very perfectly and smooth. I can see only a tiny flaw to one of the feet, shown in detail in photos. The interior lid is a mirror and remains unbroken. Superb museum piece!