This unusual antique tortoiseshell and silver-gilt jewellery box is modelled as a Georgian desk on cabriole legs. The tortoiseshell panels are simple flat panels with a beautiful rich colour and wonderful grain. Inside has been relined with a cream-coloured, braided silk pad in the base.
Despite being expensive, the use of tortoiseshell in the decorative arts was very popular in 18th and 19th century Europe. Not only did it have a beautiful mottled appearance and was durable, but it was also lightweight and could be easily fashioned into other shapes; jewellery boxes and tea caddies were prime examples.