Man's best friend

A very British gold ring with Essex Chrystal, 1930s

Who could resist the loyal look of a friendly dog? Almost everyone who has ever looked into the eyes of one of these cute four-legged friends knows how quickly these loyal companions can conquer a place in our hearts. We too have a soft spot for dogs - so it's no surprise that this ring is one of our favourites. In the middle of the ring, a so-called "Essex Crystal" captures the eye. The depiction is cut into the rock crystal cabochon from behind in the manner of an intaglio and was subsequently painted. It shows the head of a Cocker Spaniel with brown, curly fur and evokes memories from our own childhood. Funny he looks towards us, yes, he even seems to smile mischievously! The master craftsman has masterfully succeeded in capturing the physiognomy and attentive character of the animal. The depiction is also backed with a gold plate to further enhance the three-dimensional effect of the three-dimensional cut. Precise details of the fur are visible and the deep cut reveals a real play of shadows of the figure in the crystal. The crystal is set in yellow gold; a ring bar also made of yellow gold holds the ring securely on the finger. The reduced formal language of the setting and the details of the ring shoulders allow us to date the piece to the 1930s. At this time of late Art Deco, yellow gold, which had previously been neglected, came back into fashion and the shapes became more voluminous and powerful. The ring, in first-class condition, is a wonderful piece of jewellery that not only dog lovers will fall for!

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 a piece of glass is cut into a cabochon, with a domed front and a flat back. Then the motif is cut into the back as a negative shape or intaglio to achieve the desired three-dimensional trompe l'œil effect. The resulting image is now painstakingly hand-painted, reproducing even the smallest details with admirable fidelity to nature. Finally, the depiction is provided with a thin background, e.g. of mother-of-pearl, and the crystal is then set into a piece of jewellery.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.


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.