This is an unusual and unique little 17th century treasure - hard to photograph through a convex cover glass, and as enlarged as I've made these, but I wanted you to see the tiny painting which appears to have been done on a thin French opaline glass roundel, just 1" in diameter. Let me describe the decoration of this one, which I do think would have been a Louis XV to XVI era patch box, "boite a' mouche" (fly box) more likely than a snuff. Rather thick and lathe-turned tortoise shell which almost seems like wood, but it is shell, a border of 18k gold pique in "X" (kisses?) frame the gold plated mat up top. The little painting is center focus but is surrounded by a circle of tiny natural diamonds (look closely at the enlargements) and an outer circle of small silver rings, all of it mounted on a hot pink foil which is hard to capture - if I light it enough to see the foil, the glare is enormous. Tilting to the light while holding it, you can see it better. A little jewel of a box with a theme of love. The little painting of a Romantic era boy holding both a flaming heart and a torch further represents love. Perhaps a sweet token of love, it's been beautifully cared for and preserved without chips, breaks or damage. The boy's face in this one is 1/8", chin to hairline. Full measurements noted on the photos. I found it in France, and it seems likely to have been at some time in presence of Louis XV to XVI Courtiers. We just don't know who.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. I have not had it opened, but it's previous owner did open to clean glass. Not visible to the naked eye, but there is a little dust, I think, on the 1" round painting. Do keep in mind how much I've enlarged this 2 1/8" diameter box. The 18k gold X pique work and the tiny natural faceted diamonds inside aren't where the value lies, though they're precious - it's the history and iconography, and token of love just a bit shy of 300 years ago, still treasured. Convex cover glass is undamaged. Tempting to open and clean again, but I'll leave that task to a future owner. Oh, and a "patch" or "mouche" (fly) is the variety of black paper or felted or silk 'dots' people in that era stuck on their faces - here or there, beauty marks. They, too, have an interesting history. I will also mention this is just about the size of boxes which were made to hold gambling chips (jetons), and this might well have been the original use. No odors, clean inside. Precious little museum piece!
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.
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.