Such a delicate old treasure, the sheave of wheat so nicely preserved beneath the convex cover glass is entirely made of human hair. Very light blond in color - likely that of a small child. The wheat is the harvest of life and the deep blue foil backing it represents the Heaven to which the soul has departed, or been harvested from life. A mourning icon, made into the cartouche of a snuff or perhaps patch box, it has a tiny intertwined monogram or perhaps it is an eternal symbol, set with tiny cut diamonds, I think, though it might be possible that they are cut steel. The fine quality and delicate nature of this one suggests to me they are tiny diamonds, however. The oval frame is untested but likely to be 18k gold, as well. I find myself out of 18k acid to test it. Will annotate if it is something less. 2.5" diameter, 1" high, closed.
Very good to excellent condition throughout. The box is fine crafted shell, and it presents with amazing fine quality and condition. The pulverized hair wheat heads of 2 stalks are floating a bit under the cover glass, as you can see. I find this is really the only flaw to note. No warp, no chips or cracks, no hairlines. Convex glass is pristine, as well. Superb c.1700s item.
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