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French Gold Neoclassical Etui 

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French Gold Neoclassical Etui 

- Item No.

Key Features

  • This rare and enchanting French gold etui was once used to conceal secret correspondence
  • The exterior is adorned by delicate engraving in a classical floral motif
  • The etui reflects 18th-century France's taste for luxury materials and intricate ornamentation

Item Details

  • Length:
    4 3/4 Inches
  • Period:
  • Origin:
Sublime artistry recommends this French gold etui. Crafted in the restrained Neoclassical manner, this discreet case is adorned with delicate engraving and chasing in an orderly floral design bordered by branches of laurel. Clearly the work of a skilled artisan, this étui would have been owned by a prominent member of society.

Named from the Old French word "estuier," meaning "to keep or hold," an étui is a very versatile item. Small, easily concealed étuis such as this would have been used to pass correspondence, usually between lovers, and were sealed with wax to ensure discretion. These ornamental cases could be made of any material, from precious metals like gold or silver, to exotic materials such as tortoiseshell or shagreen. Though many were used for more clandestine reasons, some also served the more practical purpose of holding small items such as scissors, thimbles, bodkins and needles, makeup pencils and even a doctor's lancet.

Features French standard mark for 18k gold

Circa 1780

4 ¾" length

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Price: $14,500
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