Art Nouveau Jewelry Box, ca. 1900
It's a jewelry box. It was inherited by my daughter. She was ten when her stepmother Sherri died, and about five years later, her dad decided that my daughter should get her stepmother's jewelry box, which we had admired and loved. The only thing I know about it is what Sherri told me, which was that it was a gift to her grandmother. When she and her husband lived in a houseboat on the Yangtze River in China in the early part of the 20th century, her husband worked for a trading company, so they had a lot of guests that came and went from their houseboat, and somebody gave this to her, and that's really all I know about it, and I've wondered for 35 years, where was it made.
We know right away this isn't Chinese. The background material is burled walnut, and this is brass. It's done in an Art Nouveau style. We believe it's from the Art Nouveau period, anywhere from 1890 to about 1910. We know that it was made in Austria, so it traveled from Austria to your relative in China, and now out to California. Despite all those weather changes, the condition is fabulous. Oftentimes, with this type of intricate inlay, we see lifting, we see separations. One of the interesting things about this object is the stories in these vignetted panels here. We have Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the front. Turn it around this way, we have a number of other Grimm fairy tales: Hansel and Gretel in the corner, Puss in Boots in the other corner, we have the Six Swans in the middle, and others. The work on it is spectacular. If we open it up, we can see inside, it's fitted. It is a jewelry box. It's in really, really beautiful condition. It's a phenomenal piece. The artistry and the work on it couldn't be better. It's one of the finest examples of this type of work that we've seen. At auction, we believe it would fetch between $3,000 and $5,000.
Wow! Oh, amazing.
It is amazing.
I've known it was a special box. I would just love to know who gave it to Sherri's great-grandmother.
Well, the box knows, and that'll have to do for now.
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