The bell has a small, stylized spice box atop it. Spice boxes have historical significance in the Jewish religion, particularly in Europe and Eastern Europe. Tiny bells were often affixed to projecting banners of the boxes. This bell obviously has a wooden handle and what may be a sterling silver base. If sterling silver, it may be marked as such somewhere; also, it would not sound very good. I purchased mine at the Jewish Museum in NYC when it was on sale at half-price. The original price was around $165.