English elegance

Rose gold pin with Essex Crystal of a Doberman, around 1910

The breeding of the Doberman goes back to the time around 1890. They are named after their breeder, the German tax collector Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Soon they were used as guard and hunting dogs, but also as police dogs due to their intelligence. The present lapel pin shows such a dog, whose physique in the early years of its breeding was not yet characterized by such a strongly rising croup as today, so that we date the depiction around 1910. The beautiful animal portrait is executed in an extremely elaborate, now forgotten technique, the so-called Essex Crystal. Here the motif is engraved into the back of a rock crystal and then painted from behind, giving it an almost three-dimensional appearance. Here it is an Essex Crystal of striking size, executed in the typical style of the English school, which produced animal portraits of particularly elegant lines. The crystal is set in a restrained rose gold frame. At the back, it reveals a mother-of-pearl backplate, which allows the background of the Doberman motif from the front view to shimmer discreetly. A strikingly beautiful and rare piece that, in top condition, is ready to adorn a lapel once again.

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. Then the motif is cut into the back as a negative shape or intaglio to achieve the desired three-dimensional trompe l'lœil 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. Like so many elaborate and labor-intensive processes, the craftsmanship of Essex Crystal existed in its pure form for only a few decades. By the early 20th century, cheaper pressed glass versions were replacing the painstakingly cut rock crystal and hand-painted miniatures. However, the merits of the original Essex Crystal remain unsurpassed to this day and are prized by collectors for their beauty. Above all, the detailed cutting and superb, multi-colored painting distinguish the best work. Often the value of an Essex Crystal can be measured not only by their naturalistic finish but also by the amazing depth of representation revealed in the side view.

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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.