Antique French blond tortoise shell and 18k gold layered on marked .800/1000 pure French silver (vermeil). Marked with the tiny French boar's head, which is the guarantee mark for .800/1000 or 2nd titre (standard) silver, the marks so small - which I might add here, fooled another dealer into thinking it was solid 18k gold. This one is opulent, true enough, but it is not 18k solid gold! Dating to mid-late 1800s, you can see similarly made items from the same era in our photo of a Museum display case detailing this type of gold inlaid items from an earlier period. The lorgnette is either of finest quality carved blond shell, or perhaps boiled horn which can often mimic the blond shell and was also used in this period and type of item. I buy my 1.5 magnification 'readers' at the grocery store and seem to lose them right and left, but think of your reading aid in the Napoleon III era, and here is the result. Elegant reading glasses, sometimes wrongly referred to as 'opera glasses', this lorgnette is made to hang from the neck on a long chain or often a black ribbon, always at the ready for quick reading or magnification use. The lenses are folded double and have a spring-latch that pops them open, but if use doubled, it's a nice magnification enhancement and can be used in that way, also. All manner of mudane items from our point of view now merited elevation in aesthetic as well as importance in the lives of the French (and European) aristocracy, to which one of whom certainly owned this item. It likely once had a matching cigar case. Perhaps in our lifetimes something will be invented that can extract molecular 'memory' from items such as this and tell us the stories embedded in its surface from conversations it, inanimate object that it is, would have been privy to. I always want the stories! You?
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. Remarkably unscathed by time, I see only the most minor and normal signs of age to this type of item, but no bug bites, no chips. I do see one thin hairline that moves into the shell but it's hard to see and was harder to capture in a photo, apparently since I don't see where it is to point it out. Suffice to say, it's quite innocuous, but bears a little mention. The hinged mechanism, delightfully visible through the semi- transparent and beautifully polished shell, is spring-loaded so it holds tightly closed and is released with the pushbutton, visible in our images. Look it over - isn't it a fabulous item! c. 1850-80s. Superb!
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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