From my own collection of these c.1750-80s 'necessaire', it's the only one I've had in this rare and stunningly beautiful carved agate or stone. Sardonyx is a particularly rare form of mined agate, and this one is richly mottled and brilliantly colored. Typically, one might expect to open the silver mount and find a set of grooming tools within, the 'necessities' a gentleman might require in travel, tucked neatly into a small vest pocket sized case. Elevated to things of great beauty, as with this one, a gentleman might well own a variety of them, as with precious snuff boxes. This one is not fitted with the typical implement rack, and remains open. Some were fitted with a scent or 'salts' bottle. Perhaps this was one, though no flask was with it when I purchased it in France ages ago. One of my favorites, it is just under 4" long.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. Not a single flaw in the hand-carved slabs of sardonyx agate which comprise the body and cap. Not even a tiny chip. Very rare fine condition. The hinged silver mount and trim around the slightly widening lid, the trim and clasp - all excellent as well. These semi-precious stone ones of specimen stone are a bit fragile and not many survive. Most are in museum collections and the few that do come to market don't last long. I suspect this one will be the same. Isn't it a gem!
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