Beautiful antique sterling silver vinaigrette ( Perfume bottle in silver holder ).

Sale price Price $ 11,000.00 Regular price Unit price  per 

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Beautiful antique sterling silver vinaigrette ( Perfume bottle in silver holder ).

1840 England.

Size 6.9 x 4.4 cm

Sterling silver vinaigrettes are small decorative boxes that were used during periods of travel, as a more accessible and practical alternative method of carrying perfume and scents than moving large glass bottles and vials. The perfume, or aromatic vinegar, would be contained within these boxes soaked in a sponge. The box would also have a grille to cover the sponge. Vinaigrette sizes tended to vary, with their widths spanning from half and inch to 4 inches. Silver examples would always be gilded at the point where the sponge would touch the metal. This was to avoid any corrosion. Today, vinaigrettes are a highly collectable item of antique silver

During the 19th century, vinaigrettes were a fashionable indication of social ranking, as those who were able to afford perfume or concern themselves with their outward appearance at all were among the elite. Sanitisation standards were low for all including the highest classes, but they were able to compensate with perfume which would distinguish them from the working class. Not only was the scent just a disguise; many also believed that pleasant smells would protect them from diseases. The association between illness and bad smells had been acknowledged. The solution to the problem, however, had not quite been reached.

Perfume was also an exotic extravagance, so to be able to both afford perfume and then contain it within a decorative vinaigrette was the height of social distinction and a display of grandeur and wealth.