This nice little piece is carved of ivory and has a beautiful old patina and ivory grain pattern. One side is engraved with the circle and dot designs known as Madras work. It's a form of scrimshaw work where black lacquer is flowed into the engraved designs. It's English and dates to the early 19th century. The back has the script word "Emery".
The condition is excellent with no chips, cracks or other damage. The blue silk cushion is original and intact and it's stuffed with emery powder. It measures almost 1" in diameter. A variety of needlework tools of this style and age are shown on p. 87 of Nerylla Taunton's book "Antique Needlework Tools and Embroideries".
Emeries were used to sharpen and polish the steel needles of the age. Emery powder is a fine grit and the needles were pushed in and out the cushion several times. It also removed rust.