The Qing Court took pleasure in all things novel. Semi-precious stones came into vogue after one of their sources of supply, in Turkestan, was brought into the Chinese Empire as Xinjiang province with the conquest of 1759. Because the specimens large enough for a snuff bottle were always flawed, artisans devised glass that could be made to look like flawless stone. The versatility of glass in form and color lent itself to a multitude of faux nephrite, jadeite, colored hardstone, realgar, amber and other bottles to tease and delight the eye.
See Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 695, for an emerald-green glass snuff bottle similarly suffused with air bubbles; and D. Low, More Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, p. 104, no. 93, for an example in peacock-blue glass. As in the present bottle, the glassblower has maintained the natural shape of the interior bubble for the cavity.
The concave area on one main side may have served as an integral snuff dish, as the damp and humid climate of parts of China made it necessary to crush the lumps of snuff that would form, leading to the invention of flat or dished surfaces.