Lovely Bulldog

Antique english brooch with "Sulphide"-gem of a bulldog, Georgian around 1820

Among the many English national symbols is the bulldog. Originally bred for animal fighting, which was popular until the 19th century, the dogs are characterized by their defensive strength and power, but also by their good-natured nature. The inhabitants of the island were only too happy to ascribe these qualities to themselves. Even Winston Churchill, in his staunch defence of the country, was credited with the nature (and not least the appearance!) of the Bulldog. This antique brooch celebrates this particularly English dog. Set in gold, a cabochon of glass captures the viewer's eye, depicting the proud animal. At first glance, the technique seems to indicate an "Essex Crystal", that is, an intaglio cut on the reverse. The technique with which the bust was brought into the cabochon, however, is completely different: it is a "glass sulphide", also known as "cameo incrustation" or "crystallo ceramie". Here, the depiction was not engraved by hand from behind into the glass, but it consists of a sulphurous paste pressed into shape, which is completely enclosed by clear glass and thus appears plastically in the curved glass body. Sulphide gems first appeared in the 2nd half of the 18th century. Among others, the Scottish gem cutter James Tassie was famous for works in this technique, which he liked to use for jewellery from about 1760 onwards. At the beginning of the 19th century, the process was refined and was now mainly used to decorate drinking glasses and decanters. Our gem dates from around 1820 and is in very good condition. Are you also powerful but good-natured? Then this brooch from Georgian England is exactly the right jewellery for you!

The exact origins of the Essex Crystal are unknown; however, corresponding pieces of jewellery can be observed for the first time since the middle of the 19th century in England. Preference was given to the depiction of dogs, cats, horses and hunting motifs. The craftsmanship required to achieve the lifelike realism of the images was enormous. The small portrait miniatures were created using a series of techniques and steps. First, a clear rock crystal or piece of glass is cut into a cabochon, with a domed front and a flat back. Next, the design is cut into the back as a negative shape or intaglio to achieve the desired three-dimensional tromp l'loeil effect. Finally, the image is covered with a thin background of mother-of-pearl, for example, and the crystal is then set into a piece of jewellery.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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