Silver pique in the Georgian or 'Regency' period toothpick and/or patch box you see here, all entirely in place against the chocolate and cognac colored natural tortoise shell. Beautifully crafted and with a hinged lid that is shaped to recess to the lip, as you can see in our images. Nicely crafted c. 1770-1820, and in very good condition as well, but that it appears someone at some later date has relined it with non-original velvet. The original use for these navette- shaped etui was as a holder for either the face patches (beauty marks) that were popular in its time, or for tooth hygiene to include a scraper and a toothpick which were often made of gold. This one would also have had an old silvered mirror glass mounted inside the lid. Still, it survives mostly intact and is a charming reminder of its time and of the fashions unique to that era.
Very good condition for age and type. As noted, the mirror that would have been attached to interior of lid is no longer there, and someone has lined it in a beige velvet which is not original. While these were lined originally in velvet, it would have been more likely to be in red and with sides of the bottom also lined. In fact, I see a bit of the old adhesive still showing. Further, there are a couple of small and minor flea bites to the shell as noted in our images. Otherwise very nice and without cracks or broken sections to speak of. The pique work is nicely done and remains flat to the surface. No lifts. Measurements are in the images.
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.