Gold & Agate Etui
- Item No.
This rare and remarkable English 18th-century agate and gold étui exhibits a graceful Rococo style. Adorned with exceptional carving and gold mounts, this charming étui opens with the push of a button, and then would have been wax-sealed for optimal privacy. Often carried by affluent members of society, étuis such as this were once used to hold secret messages. Named from the Old French word "estuier," meaning "to keep or hold," an étui is a very versatile item. 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.Circa, 1770Length: 4 "