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Answered in 7 minutes by:
12/21/2017
Antique Expert: Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher replied 5 months ago
Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,391
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Hi! My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your shell.

Can you tell me if, when you rub the metal firmly with your thumb, do you get a faint whiff of bad egg smell?

Or no particular smell at all?

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Antique Expert: Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher replied 5 months ago

This is Chinese or more specifically, Tibetan, ritual shell ornament, some of which are fitted with a small hole in one end so it can be used as a horn or a whistle. The shell is known as a shankha (Turbinella pyrum), a holy object with religious significance in Hinduism and Buddhism.

The ornately decorated repousse metal overlay is usually silver and looks to be so in this case. The reason I asked about the smell is that sometimes the black oxidation on the metal will give off a faint aroma of bad egg when rubbed, which is a good 'boy scout' method of testing for silver.

This particular style dates to the first half of the 20th century, most likely the 1930s or a little earlier.

One of this age, decoration and artistic merit would sell at auction or on line (eBay etc) in the range of $100 - $150.

It therefore has a full retail value (if you saw it for sale in an antique store, say) of $300. This is also the replacement value for insurance purposes.

I do hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Robert.

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