Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The Russian gold cigarette case shown, with a cabouchon sapphire release button, was undated in the February 23 catalogue but the stamped hallmark 585 (14ct) indicates it was pre- Revolutionary.

The samorodok technique – heating the metal to just below melting point then cooling it immediately in water – was developed by Russian silversmiths to produce a textured finish.

The case sold to a UK bidder in the room at £3400.

The auctioneers ‘prayed in aid’ the names of two of the most fashionable jewellers when cataloguing the early 20th century vanity case, also illustrated above. It was described as ‘in the manner of Cartier/Van Cleef’.

The yellow metal body, which had been tested as 18ct gold was decorated with onyx, enamel and diamond and opened to reveal a tortoiseshell comb, mirror and lift-up inner lid for rouge.

The ends were missing the oval caps, but the vanity case sold to another UK private buyer on the lower £4700 estimate at the Norfolk auction.