A Stunning Early 20th Century Chinese Silver Vermeil Tea Caddy

A Stunning Early 20th Century Chinese Silver Vermeil Tea Caddy

The rich tradition of Chinese artistry shines through in this magnificent early 20th century silver vermeil tea caddy. Impeccably crafted and adorned with intricate detailing, this exquisite piece combines traditional Chinese motifs with luxurious embellishments of coral, turquoise, and vibrant enamel.

Features and Craftsmanship

Material: The tea caddy is made from silver, coated in vermeil—a layer of gold plating over sterling silver. This gives it a warm, lustrous sheen that complements the detailed designs.


  • The lid is a masterpiece of filigree work, intricately detailed with floral motifs.
  • It is adorned with colorful enamel, further decorated with turquoise and coral cabochons.
  • A filigree finial handle, topped by a coral cabochon, adds a finishing touch of elegance.


  • The ridged body is embellished with enamel renderings of birds among flowers, creating a picturesque scene that reflects the natural world.
  • The intricate designs are further enriched by turquoise and coral cabochons, offering a delightful contrast of colors.

Design Significance:

  • Filigree Work: The use of filigree, a delicate form of metalwork, showcases the exceptional craftsmanship characteristic of Chinese artisans.
  • Birds and Flowers: The motif of birds among flowers symbolizes happiness, prosperity, and harmony in Chinese culture.
A Stunning Early 20th Century Chinese Silver Vermeil Tea Caddy

Historical Context

Early 20th Century: This period saw a blend of traditional Chinese artistic styles with Western influences, particularly in decorative arts. Chinese artisans catered to both domestic and international markets, leading to the creation of unique items like this tea caddy.

Tea Culture:

  • Tea holds a special place in Chinese culture, and tea caddies were essential for preserving the freshness of the leaves.
  • The elaborate design of this caddy reflects the importance of tea in social and ceremonial contexts.


This early 20th-century Chinese silver vermeil tea caddy is a stunning example of the country's rich artistic heritage. Its intricate filigree lid, colorful enamel motifs, and luxurious coral and turquoise embellishments make it not only a functional item but also a work of art. The tea caddy stands as a testament to the skill and creativity of Chinese artisans, offering a glimpse into a bygone era of elegance and refinement.