A Jeweler at the Saxon Court

Gold, Jasper and Carnelian A box of gold and semiprecious stones by Johann Christian Neuber, from around 1770-75, is in this show at the Frick Collection.

A box of gold and semiprecious stones by Johann Christian Neuber, from around 1770-75, is in this show at the Frick Collection. Hugues Dubois, Private collection. Source: The New York Times.

Don’t miss your chance to see Gold, Jasper, and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court at The Frick Collection before it closes at the end of next week, August 19. The New York Times called it the “sleeper of the summer.” In 18th century Saxony (part of Germany), one of Dresden’s most illustrious jewelers, Johann Christian Neuber revived the art of the gift of gems. Since antiquity, gemstones have been traded and gifted among the elite as tokens of taste and wealth. By decorating small, gold boxes with local gems, such as jasper and carnelian, Neuber re-imagined this exchange of refined civilities in a new form. He decorated his boxes with enchanting and complex designs like the box above using a technique known as Zellenmosaik (cell mosaic). Responding to aristocratic enthusiasm, Neuber created the Steinkabinettabatiere (stone cabinet snuffbox). His most popular works, snuffboxes figure prominently in this exhibition, the first comprehensive one of Neuber’s career. Inspired by Neuber’s boxes, here are some of our favorite boxes.

Superb micro-mosaic, tortoiseshell and gold snuff box. Italian, circa 1870. Length: 3.2" Width: 2.4"

Micro-mosaic, tortoiseshell and gold snuff box. Italian, circa 1870. Length: 3.2" Width: 2.4"

From Samuel Saidian Works of Art.

Silver and enamel box.  Vienna, Austria - 1880.  Size: 3.5" x 2.5" x 1.25"

Silver and enamel box. Vienna, Austria - 1880. Size: 3.5" x 2.5" x 1.25"

From Michael’s Antiques.

Russian silver and enamel pill box or compact, gilded interior, with sweetwater pearls and amethysts, .84 silver.  Imperial Russia (probably for Arabic markets), c. 1900.  Diameter: 3.5"

Russian silver and enamel pill box or compact, gilded interior, with sweetwater pearls and amethysts, .84 silver. Imperial Russia (probably for Arabic markets), c. 1900. Diameter: 3.5"

From Alter Silver Gallery Corp.

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