This box is an interesting testimony to the conchyliomania during the 18th century. The period of its manufacture coincides with the period of the trading in and collecting of shells, during the reign of King Louis XV. In 1736, the famous marchand-mercier E.-F. Gersaint published a sale catalogue of a collection of shells he had acquired in the Netherlands. Other Oliva Porphyria boxes are illustrated in A. K. Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, Woodbridge, 1990, plates 347 and 446. Recently sold similar snuff-boxes include one auctioned at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 14 December 2000, lot 235, one sold Christie's, London, 27 November 1991, lot 1, and one from the Dreesmann Collection, sold Christie's, London, 11 April 2002, lot 920. Another specimen, of 1774, was in the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, sold Sotheby's, Geneva, 15 May 1990, lot 35.