Victorian Etruscan Revival Essex Crystal Bird Pendant
Essex crystals seem to be able to capture the very essence of what is portrayed. During the Victorian era nature was held in high esteem and the culture clearly reflected that attitude. There flowers and gardens everywhere; even the interior walls of the home were papered with the bounties that nature had to offer. Of course, jewelry of the time was not immune to the possibilities of the display of flora and fauna.
Clear rock crystal has been cut en cabochon and splendidly carved from the back into a three-dimensional rendering of a woodpecker poised on a tree branch ready to launch into flight. The deeply engraved intaglio has been masterfully hand-painted in minute detail to create an extremely sharp and vivid tromp l’oeil effect, and then backed with a thin plate of gold. The coloring is subtle and superbly realistic.
The crystal is set into an 18k yellow gold archeological revival style pendant mount with applied wire work and small gold orbs accenting the perimeter. Twisted gold rope edge around the crystal accentuates the depth of the image. The top bale, of 14k yellow gold may not be original to the piece.
The convex shaped underside conceals a locket back with removable glass cover and rim that reveals a deep inside compartment for a keepsake or photo. This jewel is accompanied by its original hinged brown leather box with blue interior. Within is a silk stamp for the for the jewelry store which is no longer legible.
Measurements: 2-5/16 inches (5.9 cm) in length including top bale by 1-7/16 inches (3.7 cm) in width by ¾ of an inch (1.9 cm) in depth. This antique pendant has a weight of 24 grams (15.4 dwt).
Condition: Very good; top bale may have been replaced but is very well done; a bit of dust under the crystal gold backing which only shows in close up photographs; tiny chip on glass of the locket compartment
Date & Origin: Circa 1870 and is English in origin.
Overall Scale: Large