‘Tique of the Week: Cigarette holder brings reminder of different time

This week’s ‘tique comes from South Congress’ Off the Wall, a store full of everything from antique pocket watches to JFK inauguration day pin.

Tucked away in a case full of estate jewelry and music boxes, a small cigarette holder sits nestled in its tiny violin-like case.

The cigarette holder is in a glass case filled with old music boxes, cocktail rings and brooches that look as though they once belonged to some aristocrat.

Much shorter than what you’d imagine a cigarette holder to be, the device is made of amber, silver and enamel. It comes from the 1920s, according to Dita Williams, the curator of one half of Off the Wall.

“I’ve been [in the antiques business] for 60 years,” Williams, who is originally from England, said. “I’ve been on this avenue for 22 years.”

She also adds that she has inherited many of the items she has from her aunt and uncle.

The length of a cigarette holder depends on the event at which it would be used. The longest ones were typically used at the opera and measured up to 20 inches. The shortest are like this one and are cocktail length.

Although Williams doesn’t remember where she acquired the holder, it’s fun to imagine who it once might have belonged to.

A word printed inside the case seems to read “Austria,” but time has worn away all certainty and has paved the way for guessing.

Did it belong to a flapper who felt drawn to the holder because of its precious materials? Maybe she made her way through Vienna with the holder safe in her mesh purse.

Or did it belong to an artist, who fell in love with its intricate detail?

Examining this ‘tique can take you back to a time where nobody thought twice about lighting up. It can also remind you of the present, where cigarette smoking is viewed far less glamorously than in the 1920s, when it was accompanied by a holder.