Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mastery of Design: A German Mother-of-Pearl and Jeweled Box, 1730-1740

German, 1730-1740
Mother-of-Pearl, Gold, Diamonds, Rubies, Hyacinth, Emeralds
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in Germany for export to Austria between 1730 and 1740, this box was designed to hold small personal items. Such boxes were the pinnacle of opulence and were considered symbols of enormous wealth and social standing. 

This particular box is crafted from mother-of-pearl, mounted in piqué with gold, and set with brilliant-cut diamonds, rubies, emeralds, jacinth (hyacinth) and garnets. It was exported from Vienna to England in 1806 where it was quickly appreciated for its workmanship and reliance on organic design themes. 

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