A rare Victorian Essex crystal pendant in 18K gold, depicting an owl perched on a branch, an unusual subject matter for a style that featured hunting-related animals like horses, dogs or foxes. Essex crystal (or reverse painted) jewelry was made using a piece of cabochon rock crystal, flat on one side and domed on the other. The flat side was carved with an intaglio design, which was then painted in amazing detail and often backed with mother-of-pearl. The distortions of the domed crystal gave the painting a magnified, three-dimensional; when skillfully painted, as with this owl, the subject almost comes to life. Its feathers are painted in great detail and realistically mottled colors. The pendant setting featureds a beaded surround and a bloomed finish on the reverse. Condition is very good: there is slight patchiness to the gold background. Pendant measures 1.8cm.