Emerald-set Box, Mughal India circa 1635.
This sides and lid of this spectacular gold box are set with 103 emeralds, perfectly matched and fitted. They are carved in shallow relief to depict cypress trees within borders of repeated stylized leaves. The precious materials and the high quality of the design and craftsmanship suggest that the box was made at the highest level of Mughal court patronage.
At the apex of the lid is a diamond. It has an octagonal table surrounded by 24 visible facets within the girdle and appears to represent an early form of brilliant cutting. The underside of the box is covered with emerald-green enamel over engraved decoration. The pattern consists of a central rosette surrounded by two rows of stems with split acanthus leaves forming pairs of double scrolls. The ground is hatched and cut away so that the enamel is darker in the background and lighter over the rosette and scrolls.