The overall shape of this box, the mounts and the chased reeded borders strongly resemble those on a gold-mounted agate snuff box by Nicolas Bouillerot (active 1720-1754), also struck with the discharge mark of Jacques Cottin for 1726-1732, in a French private collection (see Sophie Mouquin, Agate, Jasper and Sardonyx: Gemstones in French Mineralogical Collections of the Eighteenth Century, in Alexis Kugel: Gold, Jasper and Carnelian, Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court, London, 2012, p. 75). Nicolas Bouillerot was among the first Paris goldsmiths to mount hardstones - particularly agate - in snuff boxes. Furthermore, the present snuff box is also a very early, yet extremely advanced example, of the growing interest in arborised agate in early 18th century France. The dendritic hardstones were not only cherished as scientific examples of mineral specimens, such as those displayed in cabinets of curiosities like that of the Abbé de Fleury (sold in 1756), but were also perceived as a natural way of creating images and so were subsequently chosen for their ability to serve as pictures. This interest and enthusiasm was revived later in the 18th century, as shown by a small gold-mounted figured agate snuffbox by Adrien-Jean-Maximilien Vachette, Paris, 1789, the panel resembling a winter sunset, or even Napoléon's bicorne hat with Mercury's wings, fomerly belonging to Napoléon I, Emperor of the French, sold Sotheby’s, Treasures sale, 4 July 2018, lot 28.