Posted 2 years ago
This is a very unusual thing. It is a pomander (open-work perfume container) that also doubles as a wax seal, although the bloodstone seal at the end has never been engraved.
The pomander is in the shape of a handle about 5cm high so it would work as a desk seal, but it also has a loop and hangs from a very cool Gothic style silver and gold long guard chain about 150cm long.
The detail on the pomander is amazing. The open-work is in the form of a trellis with a plant and flowers growing up it, probably representing a climbing rose, in keeping with the purpose of the item, to provide a pleasant smell.
The opening top has decorative Gothic details, shaped a bit like fleur de lys, with an acanthus border.
The pomander has a tiny French boar's head mark for 800 silver and is stamped in three places with the French maker's mark shown in the last pic.
I am guessing this may be part of a chatelaine, circa mid C19th (Second Empire under Napoleon III, 1852–70) when a long guard chain would be worn at the waist by the lady of the house keeping the essential keys and seals needed to run the household, along with some miniature personal utensils, which could have included a pomander. However I've never heard of a combination pomander and seal, although what a practical idea.
If anyone has seen anything like this or can identify the mark, I'd love to know.