Probably Scotland, Late 18th / Early 19th Century



 The particularly well figured pink-tinged large “Lettered Olive” shell

having a hinged tortoiseshell lid and silver mounts,

the marking mostly copper-colored inverted “V” forms,

some appearing almost as fir trees; the silver unmarked


These highly and usually figured glassy shells are known as olive shells, numbering in variety over 400,

are found in warm tropical waters, in Southeast America, Mexico and Brazil. 

This particular species is the "Lettered Olive", or “Oliva Sayans Ravenel 1834”.

Home to a mollusk or snail, it usually lives in shore flats, and can be taken at extreme low tides.

The varying color and design is due to the snail secretes. 

Markings consist of zigzags, chevrons and small tent-like inverted "V" markings.



A Group of Lettered Olive Shells, with their distinctive markings


Condition :  Excellent with minor flaws : a thin hairline crack to the tortoiseshell at one end of the lid by the rivet;

the shell and tortoise with a few normal surface flaws; some stubborn spots of tarnish


4.25” Long / 3.4 Total oz.






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George III / IV Silver-Mounted "Lettered Olive Shell" & Tortoiseshell Snuff Box, early 19th century, probably Scotland


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