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Antique Sterling Silver Snuff Boxes

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  • At Dart Silver Ltd we always have a wide selection of antique sterling silver snuff boxes in stock.
  • Antique sterling silver snuff boxes with examples from England, Scotland, Continental Europe and further afield. Dating from the Georgian & Victorian period as well as the 20th century.
  • Always very popular with seasoned collectors as well as the new collector with prices to suit most budgets.
  • The History & Use of Silver Snuff Boxes.

Sterling silver snuff boxes have a rich history that dates back to the 17th century. Snuff boxes were small, often ornate containers used to hold snuff, a form of powdered tobacco that was inhaled through the nose. The use of snuff became popular in Europe in the 17th century, and as a result, snuff boxes became fashionable accessories among the elite.

Origins of Snuff Boxes

The use of snuff originated in the Americas among indigenous peoples, but it gained popularity in Europe after being introduced by Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

Initially, snuff was considered a luxury product and was used by the upper class. As a result, finely crafted containers were created to hold and dispense the snuff.

Rise in Popularity

Snuff-taking became a widespread habit in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, reaching its peak during the 18th century.

The act of taking snuff was often seen as a social ritual, and owning an elegant snuff box was a symbol of status and refinement.

Materials and Craftsmanship

Snuff boxes were crafted from various materials, including wood, ivory, gold, and silver. Sterling silver, in particular, became a popular choice due to its durability and aesthetic appeal.

Skilled silversmiths and artisans created elaborate designs, often incorporating intricate engravings, embossing, and enamel work.

Styles and Periods

Different styles of snuff boxes emerged over the years, influenced by the prevailing artistic trends of the time.

During the 18th century, Rococo and Neoclassical styles were prominent, leading to the creation of highly decorative and ornate snuff boxes.

In the 19th century, styles evolved, with a shift towards more streamlined and functional designs.


Sterling silver snuff boxes became highly collectible items, sought after by antique enthusiasts and collectors.

The craftsmanship, historical significance, and often intricate designs of these boxes contribute to their desirability in the antique market.

Decline in Use

The popularity of snuff began to decline in the 19th century with the rise of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco consumption.

As the use of snuff waned, so did the production and use of snuff boxes.


Today, sterling silver snuff boxes are cherished as both historical artefacts and collectible items, providing a glimpse into the social customs and tastes of bygone eras. They are often displayed in museums, sold at auctions, and sought after by collectors of antique silverware.

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