One of the most beautiful of the exotic materials used for snuff bottles is amber, the translucent fossilized resin of ancient coniferous trees from the Tertiary period. The three main varieties of amber used are: a range of transparent brown, golden-brown and reddish amber much of which came from Burma, although similar material was also found elsewhere; a yellow, cloudy amber associated with the Baltic; and "root amber," where the transparent range of material has inclusions of opaque yellow-ochre and brown colors.
The unusually rich color and transparency of the present bottle points to its being of Burmese origin. Its superb hollowing and lovely material distinguish this bottle as one of the great examples of its type. Much early amber exhibits the web-like crackle known as crizzling, and is considered a positive feature by collectors, demonstrating the natural effects of time on a delicate material. The fine condition of this early bottle in a material so vulnerable to use suggests it was a prized possession.
Compare a bottle of similar shape in Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1991, no. 382, and nos. 381 and 383 for two of different shapes carved from equally fine amber.