Fabulous antique French sterling silver and cut glass liquor flask. Featuring an exquisite cut glass tapered bottle, of a rich cranberry fading to pink. Decorated with wheel cut fluting and exquisite deep intaglio engraving. Patterned with an iris and lily of the valley flowers, with leaves wrapping around the bottle. Beautifully detailed. Sterling silver mounts are patterned in raised relief with repousse iris flowers and leaves and finished in stunning gold vermeil. The lid having a cork lined interior. Hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark used from 1838 to 1919, which depicts the goddess Minerva with a number 1 beside her to denote a silver content of 950/1000 (of 95% pure silver and a higher finesse than .925 sterling). Bearing maker's marks are for silversmith Edouard Ernie, active from 1882 at 7 rue Réaumur in Paris. Flask measures 6 1/8" length. In very good antique condition for age and type with general wear.
Sometimes mistaken for a perfume bottle, these bottles were originally serviceable as portable flasks intented for liquor or herbal restoratives (Though certainly usable for perfume if desired and are perfect to display among scent bottle collections.) These flasks could easily hold a substantial amount of one's favorite liquor, to be served in the detachable tumbler or drinking cup ideal for a shot of whiskey or flavored liqueur. These collectible flasks are known as opera flasks and carriage flasks. Smaller than the usual hip flasks, their size and shape allow them to be hand for short travel and discretely stow-able in a vest pocket, or lady's evening bag / purse. Perfect for a night out at the theatre, opera or ballet. They were also used for 'spirits', tonic waters and flavored herbal remedies one could not be without, to help soothe migraines and aches. A convenient accessory for allowing a lady or gentleman a suitable "restoratif" on a cold carriage journey or at a tedious social event.