A dog's life
Victorian Essex Crystal of a Terrier as Brooch & Pendant, England circa 1870
The Englishman in himself is sometimes inclined to peculiarities which usually make him seem amiable in the eyes of mainland Europeans. Some things are developed into true passions, so there are hardly any people who so excessively plant gardens, lay carpeting in bathrooms or love funny-looking dogs. This latter fact has led to some of the most bizarre dog breeds coming from Britain. From the Welsh Corgie to the Basset, the Jack Russell Terrier or the English Bulldog, there are countless examples of dog breeds that got their start on the island. A very special little fellow of English origin we see here on this piece of jewellery which can be worn both as a brooch and as a pendant. In front of a golden background we see a so-called "Essex Crystal" with a portrait of a small terrier. In the case of an Essex Crystal, the depiction is cut into a rock crystal from behind in the manner of an intaglio and is then painted. The small dog with black fur wears a collar and looks at us somewhat grimly or skeptically. It can be assumed that here a somewhat eccentric lady or gentleman had her darling portrayed in this rare medium, in order to always be able to carry him very close to her! The master craftsman has succeeded in capturing the physiognomy and the 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 cuts. Precise details of the fur can be seen and the deep cut even reveals a real shadow play of the figure in the crystals. The Essex crystal is set in high karat gold, the design language of the setting and its details let us date the piece to the 1870s. An enchanting piece of jewellery for all dog lovers!
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 tromp l'loeil 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.
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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.