The fashion for snuffboxes decorated with semiprecious hard stones is explained by the many mines found in Saxony at that time. Frederick the Great was a keen collector of these boxes and it was said that he owned as many as there were days in the year.
Johann Christian Neuber was one of the designers of these hard stone mosaics. He was head of the Saxony State Treasury and owned his own mine. This round box is an example of Neuber's 'stone cabinets' and would have been used as a snuffbox. It is made from gold and set with 120 numbered stones. When the box was first made, it would have come with a booklet identifying each stone according to the classification of the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner.