Jewelled mother of pearl snuffbox, commissioned by Frederick the Great of Prussia
Probably Daniel Baudesson
Mother of pearl, multi-coloured gold, cut diamonds, foil, citrine, amethyst, quartz and rubies
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.413-2008
This snuffbox is one of the surviving boxes commissioned by Frederick the Great of Prussia. It was made in Berlin around 1765, possibly by Daniel Baudesson, and is notable for the variety of jewels, hardstones and precious and semi-precious materials used in its construction and decoration.
This oblong-shaped box is made from mother of pearl plaques mounted in gold in three colours, decorated using a hammer and a sharp tool which is called chasing. It is decorated with flowers and scrolls, set with circular cut diamonds, and encrusted with flowers and foliage of citrine, amethyst and quartz, all of which have foil placed behind them to reflect the light . The rim of the cover is set with diamonds, some foiled, including three large cushion-shaped diamonds and one pear-shaped diamond over a pink foil ground and ruby flowers.
Other examples that display the same technique of raised hardstone flowers can be found in the Louvre, Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.