Providing a stark contrast to polished silver, green emu egg shells were used by colonial silversmiths to create distinctively Australian presentation pieces throughout the second half of the 19th century. The vivid green colour faded to less attractive light brown with time, and these pieces were generally not fashionable beyond the first decade of the twentieth century; thus it is not surprising that few silver-mounted emu eggs have survived.
It remains unresolved as to who among Australian silversmiths first designed and made the silver-mounted emu egg. They were first recorded in the mid 1850s. Evan Jones (active 1873-1917), a renowned Sydney silversmith who arrived from England about 1855, made them at least from the 1870s. A former apprentice of Hogarth, Erichsen & Co, and subsequently of Christian L Qwist, he was frequently represented in colonial and international exhibitions. It was reported, for example, that in the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 (Australia's first), he showed "emu's eggs ...mounted in 101 different ways". Jones was also a prolific jeweller and accomplished medalist. He also made rowing and sculling trophies and large testimonials with Australian motifs.
This unique bachelor teapot is most likely part of a set Jones exhibited in the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London and in the Jubilee International Exhibition in Adelaide in 1887.
Eva Czernis-Ryl, May, 2007