This small bottle made of beautifully veined amethyst would have been a luxury item, most probably filled with an expensive, fragrant oil. The container would have had a stopper. Since the base is rounded and does not sit flat, the container would probably have been placed in a box or ring stand to remain upright.
This type of vessel was made in Egypt from the Old Kingdom onward. To judge by its shape, this particular example probably dates to the Old Kingdom, ca. 2675-2130 BC.
While many associate ancient Egypt with stones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian, evidence shows that they also took a liking to amethyst. Amethyst jewels as old as 3000 BC have been uncovered from archaeological digs. A favorite among the kings, it was thought to protect the wearer from evil and misfortune. It was often carved into the shape of a god or sacred animal and worn as an amulet. A bracelet with a large amethyst scarab was among many of the treasures found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Dimensions: H x W: 8 x 7 cm (3 1/8 x 2 3/4 in). Now in the Freer Gallery of Art. F1909.60