Gilt metal, sardonyx
German. Circa 1880
Chamfered hinged top, side panels with alternating striations mounted in crosshatched gilt metal mounts on spherical feet. Sardonyx is endemic to India and has been imported to the west from at least the 1st century BCE. The stone was favoured throughout history not only for its decretive quality but for its layers which lend themselves to the caring of polychromatic cameos.