Viennese Silver, Enamel & Rock Crystal Dish. Circa 1870Photo M.S. Rau Antiques

8" wide x 8 3/4" length. Price: $42,500

This magnificent Viennese salver, intricately carved from solid rock crystal, combines the mastery of the Viennese enameling tradition with the radiance of rock crystal. Mounted in a silver frame, plaques of intricately etched natural quartz are bound by hand-painted enamel scenes from classical mythology. During the 19th century, Viennese enamels enjoyed a great deal of popularity and Vienna was widely known as the enameling center of Europe. To find an item of this quality and condition, perfectly paired with luminous rock crystal, is exceptional and highly desirable.
From the Renaissance to the 19th century, rock crystal was considered one of the most highly valued of the minerals and was held by many to be a marvel of nature. Discovered thousands of years ago, rock crystal, or natural quartz, has been cherished for its natural beauty and remarkable ability to refract light. When cut and polished, the inherent striations and inclusions of the crystal create a reflection of light far more brilliant than manmade crystal or glass. The scarcity of this crystallized quartz, however, limited its use and for thousands of years glass makers have sought to imitate its shimmering qualities. Featured in the most sumptuous of art collections, it was revered for its transparent quality, and was often represented in art as a sign of purity.
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