What’s It Worth? Does Milady Need Her Vinaigrette?

For many hundreds of years, long before today’s proper sanitation conditions were the norm, ladies of refinement often wore around their neck or wrist, or occasionally as earrings, small vessels filled with cloth soaked in perfume. These aromatic vessels would help mask the unsavory odors that emanated from open sewers, horse-drawn buggies … and even other people. Milady would keep such an item on her person so she could quickly flood her olfactory sense with a pleasant fragrance; the delicate, variously perforated containers that released the fragrance were called vinaigrettes.

These remain quite collectible, even today. The simple egg-shaped enamel version at lower right, worn as a pendant, was made in Austria. in the 1880s. If not for a couple of chips in the enamel, it would be worth over $1,000. The round, filagree silver box, above right, was made in Mumbai, India, in the 1930s, and is worth less than $100.

The most common are tiny Georgian-period sterling silver boxes made in 18th- to 19th-century England that command from $200-$5,000, depending on the maker. Versions made in 18K gold are quite coveted and typically bring $500-$1,000. The rare 18k gold music box with enamel scene, left, will bring as much as $25,000.

The Scottish box, center, with 100 carats of faceted citrine, is set in 18k gold and the finest we have ever seen. $2,000. Currently in our St. Pete store.

You have seen us in Forbes Magazine, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Three former Sothebys.com associates, two art historians and 6 GIA Graduates on staff.

St. Petersburg: 1131 4th St. N. 727.896.6656.
Tampa: Hyde Park Village. 1607 W. Swann. 813.875.3935.
Locations/Contact Us
Get a Quote and Sell Your Items

Share Article
We use cookies to improve our site and your browsing experience. By clicking the “Accept All” button, you accept the use of cookies on our website.
Take 10% off your first purchase
Sign up to our email list to stay up to date on our latest deals, news, and events.
Exclusions apply. By signing up, you agree to receive email marketing from us.