Vintage 14K Hedges Co. Reverse Carved Ring-Necked Pheasant Essex Crystal Pin Brooch. This vintage Art Deco 14 karat yellow gold pin features an intricately hand carved and painted pheasant on the wing. The ring-necked pheasant, in all its colorful glory, was delicately and deeply hand carved into the back of a cabochon rock crystal, then painted in layers from front to back with brushes as fine as a single hair. The crystal was sealed with a background of mother-of-pearl and set in gold. The dome of the crystal serves to add dimension by magnifying this finely executed semblance of nature. The oval crystal measures approximately 16.8 mm by 12.8 mm (about 5/8 of an inch by ½ an inch) and is mounted upon a sturdy bar pin that resembles a safety pin. The entire pin measures 2-1/4 inches long.
This vintage pin is marked 14K on the back along with the worn trademark* for A. J. Hedges & Co., a Newark, New Jersey manufacturer founded in 1877. Circa 1920, this piece was probably produced as a gentleman’s lapel or tie pin. Condition is very good with a few very minor scuffs on the crystal. Overall, the pin looks seldom worn and the carving is crisp with no paint loss noted. An exquisite example. Weight is 5 grams.
*The maker's mark for Hedges was a capital H, with 14 above the letter's crossbar, and K below it.
Incorrectly called Essex Crystals, these delightful miniature works of art are also called Cook’s crystals, reverse intaglio crystals, painted reversed crystal intaglios and reverse carved crystals. Their popularity soared after they were introduced at the 1862 International Exhibition in London by engraver Charles Cook. Early themes included realistic depictions of birds, flora, dogs and horses. In the early twentieth century, sporting & hunting themes became more common and reverse crystals were often used in gentlemen’s jewelry. Although stone carving and engraving has been common throughout the ages, it is believed that only a few artists truly mastered this relatively modern reversed crystal technique. Included in that list were the famous father and son, Ernest William Pradier and Ernest Marius Pradier. The crystals continued to enjoy favor through the 1950s although they were challenged by more cheaply made molded glass imitations.
Vintage 14K Hedges Co. Reverse Carved Ring-Necked Pheasant Essex Crystal Pin Brooch