Featured Very Excited, Not Sure Where to Put this...18thC Mystery boxes?

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by RachelW, Jun 23, 2024.

  1. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    These were just sitting on top of a box, the square caught my eye first and then I started thinking very interesting thoughts. Unfortunately both are damaged in a major way, but if these are indeed 18thC I don't care. A whole EURO each!

    The square is small, just big enough to sit in the palm of my hand. It features two miniature paintings, and a monogram with a coronet. The 4th panel is damaged to the point of mystery. Its brass, with a silk interior, and studded with ruby and diamonds. Whether the stones are paste, rock, or actual semi/precious stones, I have no idea.

    The mystery is its obviously missing something on top, so I'm having an impossible time finding out what this is. Its not a pill, snuff, or trinket box. With the silk inside its not any sort of inkwell or desk piece, perhaps a ring box? I've also looked at it being part of an elaborate clock, music box, or similar. Nothing has turned up.


    The paintings: The words on the top appear to be German. The woman's says 'Fried ernebrt', and the other broken sword/palm leaf (I think?) says just 'Fried.'. I tried running it through a translator and it occasionally came up as 'Peace again' before going back to nonsense. Is this old german with a peach message?
    IMG_20240623_180316.jpg IMG_20240623_180351.jpg

    The damaged panel: IMG_20240623_180332.jpg

    The monogram: I tried looking for German coronets and found one or two similar but couldn't find out what title they matched to. Interestingly the gems are white not pink for only this panel.


    The top: Something is missing, no idea what. There's also that sort of bar, again no clue.

    One of the feet is loose, and actually unscrews.

    The inside: This convinced me to buy it, I've seen similar 18th Century boxes on ebay and they all have these types of interiors.

    Next Box incoming!​
    Lucille.b, trip98, Houseful and 15 others like this.
  2. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    This is a bit more of a mystery. Odd shape, opens at the bottom, also seems like its only one part of a larger something. Also brass, with 2 (should be 4, again bad damage) miniature paintings, with 'diamonds' and enamel. The top is crowned with more diamonds and pearls, the top one teeth testing as real. The scenery seems like its newer? I've not seen examples of this kind of brass older than 1870. But the other pieces of it seem to be inkeeping with the 1700s.

    At the bottom half on each side, its got one side with a green gem, and another side with a twiddly spinny bit that doesn't seem to do anything. The green gem is on the side that opens, almost like its a push latch, but it doesn't do anything either. The other two sides are missing.

    What on earth is it? How old is this? So many questions.


    The paintings: One sun, one crown. No writing. I'm assuming the other two had a moon and another crown perhaps?
    IMG_20240623_180712.jpg IMG_20240623_180725.jpg

    The top: IMG_20240623_180803.jpg IMG_20240623_180822.jpg

    The other two panels: IMG_20240623_180843.jpg IMG_20240623_180853.jpg

    The bottom: Seems to have something missing as well, there's a tiny bit snapped off on each foot? IMG_20240623_180921.jpg

    The interior: IMG_20240623_180959.jpg IMG_20240623_180948.jpg

    So what are these? How old are they? Are they semi/precious or are they paste? Where are they from? Should I be looking at coronets and would that mean they belonged to nobility?
    HELP :hilarious:
    My best guess is that they're 18th Century boxes, part of something else. The eiffel tower one seems newer with the brass but i can't date it as newer with everything else accounted for, unless this is a marriage of older bits?

    Thank you in advance!​
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  3. Dessert58

    Dessert58 Well-Known Member

    I have absolutely no idea what these boxes were used for.
    My guess is the box shaped one maybe contained a peace symbol?
    German had lots of wars going on through the centuries, in fact, Germany was 100s of small different states for a long while in its history, but you should be able to pinpoint the exact war if you look ar the age these boxes have.
    From what I can see, the white stones on the cone shaped box LOOK like REAL rose cut diamonds! :wideyed:
    congratulations on your amazing find! I ll be lurking around for the ideas of other members :D
    Lucille.b, kyratango, cxgirl and 5 others like this.
  4. daveydempsey

    daveydempsey Moderator Moderator

    There seems to have been a lot of scratching of the base on the first one, probably for gold acid testing.

    What does this say or what numbers ?

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  5. evelyb30

    evelyb30 Well-Known Member

    The diamonds look like they're actually diamonds, but might be legit Rhine stones too if these are German. The stones are clear quartz and if cut like diamonds might resemble them too, especially since the backing silver has doubtless gone dark with age.
  6. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    I'll never say no to diamonds! :jawdrop:
    I wonder if the square one is a husband/beau war keepsake of some kind? It would make sense that the damaged panel is another monogram if so, to be left with the lady.

    @daveydempsey no writing there, though after a clean something may turn up! On the fence on cleaning this one honestly. I might polish the stones with a Qtip and water and leave it at that.

    @evelyb30 I suppose this is where a gem tester comes in handy! I think I'll have to get one...

    Update on the cone: the green gem is in fact a lever to open the bottom, but it sticks so escaped my notice. The twirly thing spins something on the inside that's long snapped off, just leaving a pathetic bit of metal to spin :arghh: Perhaps the sun is in reference to the Sun King? The figures are really interesting, a lady reposing, a man in a turban type hat, a servant with wine and a servant with wheat. I was wondering about Russian origin, or perhaps middle eastern with the turban? But the crown seems very European...
    mirana, KSW, kyratango and 4 others like this.
  7. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Don't have a clue about either-but def two of the most intriguingly mysterious pieces I've seen here.
    PS-Makes me want to move to Europe,Oregon's gorgeous but a bit boring re antiques.
    KSW, cxgirl, Dessert58 and 2 others like this.
  8. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    To be honest, this is probably one of the finds of the year. I doubt I'll have this kind of luck again! What was interesting about this vide grenier is the lack of professional stalls. There were a couple of semi professionals and a few junk dealers, but no one with the polished pieces laid out nicely. Perhaps that left the jewels to me!
    KSW, kyratango, cxgirl and 2 others like this.
  9. Marote

    Marote Well-Known Member

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  10. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    Looking into the crowns on the cone box: The painted coronet looks similar to a French Marquis (although Austria-Hungary, and Russia have almost identical according to wikipedia, as well as Germany), and the crown on top is the King's crown.
    upload_2024-6-24_0-5-15.png upload_2024-6-24_0-5-38.png
    Figtree3, KSW, cxgirl and 2 others like this.
  11. gauntlettgems

    gauntlettgems Well-Known Member

  12. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    Id have jumped on those with both feet ! They both sure feel 18th century to me. Fascinating little things. I wonder if they were reliquaries of some sort ?
    KSW, kyratango, cxgirl and 3 others like this.
  13. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    I think @daveydempsey got a sharper image than I was able to....

    SAYS WHAT.jpg
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  14. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    The only things I've seen similar to the obelisk/pyramid piece would be a reliquary or a clock.18th to early 19th century pyramid clocks would've had a clock on one of the sides,or at the very top of the structure would be a horizontal rotating numbered dial mounted in a ball.
    I'll dig up some pics tomorrow-nighty-night & congrats !
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  15. Marote

    Marote Well-Known Member

    That would be a shame with such wonderful items :D
    KSW, kyratango, johnnycb09 and 5 others like this.
  16. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    Looking at reliquaries, there is a resemblance! But the size difference is pretty major, they all seem to be regular box size, even the portable ones. I did wonder if it was an ornament broken off a pyramid clock, but why on earth would a clock need a box this size/shape?

    I'll clean up the bottom a little and see if I can see those marks, in the photos it does look to be an 'RR'.

    My thoughts exactly! :hilarious:
    KSW, johnnycb09, cxgirl and 2 others like this.
  17. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Stunning boxes, Rachel!:jawdrop: Once in a lifetime finds!:woot::woot:
    Those are collector's items!!!

    The first could have contained a jewel that symbolised peace between formerly feuding German lands. As Dessert said, Germany used to have many (semi-)independent kingdoms, principalities, etc. and quite a few hotheads.
    Could you show us the texts?
    Fried' is short for Frieden, peace. It is quite common to just use Fried, especially for older pieces, before High German was standardised. It is also used in poetry.

    ernebrt is a word I don't know, nor can I make sense of it. So I wonder if it could say something else?

    The second box was made for a specific item, but what was it? It is just as stunning.

    Be sure to have all the stones tested. There could be some very nice surprises there.:happy:
    It could be an 'Erlauchtkrohne', literally a crown for someone who is addressed as 'illustrious'. Those were generally earls.

    The one below is the crown of the children of earls, with an ermine tail on top, but the earl (daddy ;)) would have an orb on top:

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  18. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    @Any Jewelry here is the text!
    IMG_20240624_151238.jpg imresizer-1719234740314.jpg

    I'm very excited about them. We're going into the city on wednesday to test/sell the gold tesbih beads so I'll take these along to get the gems tested.

    I'll do some research on the peace jewel and see what I can find.

    I'm so sad the cone is so damaged, it feels like the missing plaques would really fill a lot of the holes. If one is german, are they both likely to be? The crown on top looks French, not German to me. Also I was mistaken in thinking the Sun King was Louis 16, it was Louis 14, probably too early for this to be a contempary reference. I'll give it a little clean around the crown before taking it in for testing. Its got 100 years of dust and grime around those pearls!​
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  19. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Thanks, it says "Fried ernehrt".;) In modern High German that would be Frieden ernährt, Peace fed/nurtured, which is why she (Peace) is holding a wheatsheaf and other produce in her left hand, and a palm frond (peace) in her right.
  20. RachelW

    RachelW Well-Known Member

    Oops, hoped I could edit the message before you saw it lol! Thanks for the correction, so definitely peace related! hmmm.

    Is it possible to roughly date these, based on the little info we have?
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