A few months ago, I bought a collection of walnuts. There were four in all, two of them pendants and two boxes. I found the little collection charming. The first of my walnuts is the most interesting. It is an antique etui made of brass which would have been gilded originally. An etui is a small ornamental cases for holding needles, cosmetics, perfume bottles and so on. This life sized walnut likely was intended to hang from a chatelaine and is possibly French.
The interior has a gold wash. One side of the walnut has a mirror which opens up to reveal a cavity with an original little powder puff. The other side of the walnut has a retractable basket with 4 pearl topped pins and a little perfume bottle.
The next walnut is a hallmarked sterling silver pendant. It is heavy and is a little smaller than the first one but has a lovely wrinkled skin. I can’t quite read all the hallmarks so can’t date it but the lion (the quality hallmark for sterling silver) is clear.
The third walnut is a silver walnut which is a little box. It doesn’t have a bale. It is hollow and has no internal fittings so I can’t be sure what it was intended to hold. It has plenty of marks but again, they are are not distinct enough to read.
The final walnut is a small wooden box which unscrews in the middle. Not the most realistic walnut but charming all the same.
Inside it are four tiny items – a stand, a bottle and two ewers.
Each walnut was different but each had charm.