German Amethyst Snuff Box

  • This 18th-century snuff box is an extraordinary example of German craftsmanship
  • Crafted almost entirely from carved amethyst, the box is elegantly mounted in gold
  • Amethyst was a remarkable luxury in the 18th century, making this box especially precious
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-2370

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A luxurious example of German craftsmanship, this diminutive snuff box is crafted from amethyst elegantly mounted in gold. Due to the rarity of amethyst in the 18th and 19th centuries, the gemstone was almost entirely reserved for royalty and the inordinately wealthy — it was considered equal in value to emerald, ruby and sapphire. While it was prized in jewelry of the period, its natural striations and hues also made it a desirable material for decorative objects. The rough amethyst used to create this snuff box would have been extremely valuable, leaving no room for error on the part of the craftsman. The stone has been delicately carved on each side, enhancing the striations and natural patterns of the gem.

Classically adorned with reeded gold mounts, this box allows the beauty of the amethyst to shine. The only other embellishment is the inclusion of ruby and diamond accents at the thumb piece, which add the perfect hint of sparkle. A similar German amethyst snuff box dating to 1770 is in the British Royal Collection, which was owned by Queen Charlotte, consort of George III.

Circa 1750

3 1/8" wide x 2 5/8" deep x 1 5/8" high
German Amethyst Snuff Box
Period: 18th Century
Origin: Germany
Type: Decorative Boxes
Depth: 2.68 Inches
Width: 3.13 Inches
Height: 1.63 Inches
Style: Neoclassical

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