Born in Neuwunsdorf in 1736, Johann Christian Neuber (1736-1808), mineralogist and goldsmith, was apprenticed at the age of seventeen to Johann Friedrich Trechaon. He became a master of the goldsmith's guild in Dresden in July 1762 and in 1769 became director of the Green Vaults. By 1775 he had been appointed Hofjuwelier to the court of Friedrich Augustus III. Neuber is credited with the development of the technique Zellen mosaik lapidary, in which hardstone panels are suspended à jour within a fine geometric cagework of gold. This technique which is similar to creating cloisonné enamel, is highlighted by the juxtaposition of opaque and translucent panels in the present box.
In an advertisement in the Journal der Moden of April 1786, Neuber offers 'oval and circular gold boxes for gentleman and ladies, as stone cabinets, mounted in gold and lined with gold, of all Saxon country-stones, such as carnelians, chalcedonies, amethysts, jaspers, agates and petrified wood, numbered, together with an inventory of names, and where they can be found; a box for gentleman (Manndose) costs 150-300 Reichsthaler, a box for ladies (Damesdose) 90-150 Reichsthaler', W. Holzhausen, Johann Christian Neuber, ein sächsischer Meister des 18. Jahrhunderts, Dresden, 1935, p. 12. Two similar circular boxes were sold Christie's, Geneva, 14 November 1995, lots 92 and 112 and another example was sold Christie's, London, 10 December 2002, lot 165.