Johann Christian Neuber (1736-1808) and his father-in-law, Heinrich Taddel are credited with developing the technique of Zellenmosaik lapidary, in which hardstone plaques are suspended in a fine geometric cagework web of gold. This technique, which is similar to creating cloisonné enamel, is showcased by the juxtaposition of opaque and translucent panels in the present box.
The octagonal shape of the snuff-box distinguishes it from the circular and oval boxes usually associated with this technique. Though rare, a similarly shaped snuff-box was sold Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 19 February 1975, lot 375. A related example can also be found in the collection of the Louvre, inventory no. TH 1446 (S. Grandjean, Catalogue des tabatières, boîtes et étuis des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles du musée du Louvre, Paris, 1981, p. 284, pl. 427). Another box of the same octagonal design with a cameo-set lid and deeper base, which is part of a Private Collection in Berlin, is recorded as signed 'Neuber A Dresde' (S. Bursche, Galanterien: Dosen, Etuis und Miniaturen aus Gold, Edelsteinen, Email und Porzellan. Eine Berliner Privatsammlung, Berlin, 1996, p. 86, no. 32).
The spotted brown stone used for the central panel of the base on the present box can also be found as the central stone on the lid of an oval box by Neuber, sold Christie's, Geneva, 14 November 1995, lot 118. Usually this stone is described by Neuber in the booklets accompanying his boxes as 'Petrification de bois, couverte d'yeux, qui ressemblent à ceux de Sansonnet', thus comparing agatized petrified wood to the eyes of a starling.