Antique Russian Silver and Niello Snuff Box

Date: 1798

Country: Russia

Stock Number: 8246

A handsome antique silver box with attractive and very detailed engraved decoration. The top is decorated in the traditional silver and black niello with a mother and child in a strange rocky garden with formal walls and a building; the background has alternating gilt stripes The base is equally beautiful with a group of buildings, towers and walls. The background decoration is repeated on the sides. The interior has the original gilding. Weight 52 grams, 1.6 troy ounces. Top measures 7.2 x 3.8 cms. Height 1.8 cms. Top and bottom marked with Russian silver marks - makers mark, 84 grade and date 1798.

Literature: Grinding tobacco leaves in order to inhale the powder dates from the mid 17th century in Europe however the first snuff boxes don't seem to have appeared until the reign of William III circa 1695.

Russian silver fineness is measured in zolotniks and there are 96 zolotniks to the Russian pound. 84 zolotniks corresponds to 875 parts per 1000 silver whereas sterling silver has 926 parts per 1000 silver.

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