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Antique Snuff Boxes

Manufacturers of snuff boxes, as makers of one of the most fashionable luxury items during the 16th and 17th centuries, were regarded as artists. Master artisans created and designed these elegant little boxes using fine metals, numerous rare and beautiful woods, porcelain, ivory, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, precious gems and other luxurious materials.

The taking of snuff was a highly regarded social ritual among the European elite. With notable exception, snuff and other forms of tobacco were condemned by such personages as King James I of England, who wrote a famous counterblast against the herb, and Czar Michael of Russia, who decreed in 1634 that snuff takers were to have their noses cut off. However, popularity of snuffing flourished, thanks to the curious habit of sneezing that rose among the privileged classes. Only the rich and idle, so it was believed, had the time to sneeze or could afford snuff. Sneezing became part of conversation. One sneezed as punctuation, to show disinterest, boredom or disapproval. As a result, anything "not to be sneezed at" was considered worthwhile. 

Shop important and captivating antique snuff boxes at M.S. Rau. Our selection of exquisite and unique pieces includes items crafted in porcelain, gold, enamel, quartz and many other fine finishes. Whether you're searching for an art deco style box or a charming musical snuff box, browse our expertly curated collection today.

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