A rare exquisite c.1770-1810 French jeweled box, hard stone settings against tortoise shell as only the French worked it - not veneer, but in panels mounted into ormolu framework. The stunning old thing you see here has been my own for decades. I do think that the tortoise shell in the lid might be someone's 19th century restoration as it is not the same boiled shell as the sides. We've got a collection of this type of old French shell work, but this is only the 2nd one I've ever seen that is set with cabochons of natural semi-precious stones as 'jewels'. There are 6 large rectangular ones around the body, and each of the 8 cabriole legs of the casket is mounted with 2 round ones. All 'gems' are in place. Large at 6.5" long, 4.5" widest and 3" tall when closed.
Very good condition for age and type, this type of tortoise shell work is always fragile and you can see the typical splits from shrinkage. Rather than veneer wood, the French would mount panels of steamed natural shell into elaborate ormolu frameworks and create these etherial works of art. This is one of only 2 I've ever seen to have been set with semi-precious stones. The cabriole legs (8) are stunning, and the framework is fine throughout. This box has a working lock, but we do not have a key to fit it at listing time. And again, the large panel of thick tortoise shell mounted to the lid seems to me not to be original. It is, however, as found and would date at lest to the 1800s. A karat gold cartouche (shield) rests imbedded, not yet monogrammed. The interior has the original silk and piping, but it is pretty stained, though not torn or tattered. Silk. View from all sides. This type shell work will always have shrinkage cracks. Evaluate them in our large clear photos.
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. We do hold a valid USFWS license, as well, for import/export, but additional time is required for export, and we are not exporting at this time.
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