This is a remarkable sterling silver match safe with niello decoration, made in France around 1880. The delicate niello technique of creating black enamel designs on silver is exhibited so beautifully here in a tight checkerboard pattern on the diamond. On the side of this match safe is a depressed, gilt striker. The interior of this piece is also gilt. This match safe is in near perfect condition, with a few very minor dents from normal use that can only be seen when holding it at certain angles in the light. The niello decoration is perfectly crisp and clear and the hinge on the tightly fitting lid works great. To find a French niello piece in this good shape is very rare indeed.
It measures 2 1/4" x 1" x 1/2" and weighs 31 grams, or just under 1 Troy ounce. It is marked with two boar's heads; a French mark.