Reverse carved crystal was a technique created by cutting pieces of rock quartz crystal into a convex form and then polishing it into a cabochon shape. An image is carved into the flat side of the crystal and then hand painted. From the front, the image appears to be almost three dimensional. Many different images were used in reverse carved crystal jewelry and artwork, but animals were some of the most common motifs.
This reverse carved crystal pendant necklace from the Victorian (ca1880) era is a wonderful example of the beautiful craft! With a highly unusual motif, the Essex crystal cabochon rests on a shimmery mother of pearl background, bezel set within a 9kt rosy yellow gold frame. The painted image inside is absolutely lovely, depicting the body of a charming ladybug with intricate hand-painted details portraying its red and black spotted body, six textured legs, and delicate curved antennae. The bezel set rock crystal is flanked by two swirled wirework designs, that hold the piece in place at the center of a gorgeous open oval-shaped frame. The frame is embellished with a white colored enamel surface featuring a row of delicate gold bead accents on the front. The pendant hangs at the center of a delicate interlocking link chain, which is cinched together to form an ornate short extension above the pendant. The necklace fastens in the back with a barrel clasp, with a "9C" gold purity mark stamped nearby, which is also stamped on the back of the pendant. A unique and charming piece, it would make a lovely addition to any collection!
Measurements: The necklace measures 17.5" in total length. The pendant hangs about 1 1/8" long (including the extension chain), and measures 7/8" wide, about 1/2" tall, and is a little more than 1/8" thick.
Condition: The overall condition of the pendant necklace is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there is no apparent damage to the gold setting or to the rock crystal, which is intact and securely set. The clasp is secure and in good working condition. The reverse carved paint image displays very minor wear, however due to its size, it is not noticeable when worn.