An English hardstone snuff box, circa 1725.

The hinged lid and tapered side panels of this beautiful little box are made of lapis lazuli.

The chased gold rim is decorated with a band of flowers in opaque and translucent enamels on a textured ground, 5cm wide.

Lapis lazuli has been prized since antiquity for its intense colour and has been imported into Europe since the late Middle Ages.

Mines in northeast Afghanistan are still the major, though no longer the only source.


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