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Reverse Intaglio Rock Crystal Tie Pin of a Polo Pony With Two Mallets



An unusual 9ct gold tie pin with a carved reverse intaglio rock crystal of the head of a polo pony with crossed polo mallets behind him. The back is mother of pearl. The intaglio has been painted realistically with oils so, that when viewed through the top, the image appears three-dimensional. This technique originated in Belgium c.1860 and is attributed to an artist named Emile Marius Pradier. It was also practiced in England by Thomas Cook and his descendants who made crystals for Lambeth & Co.

Production of a reverse crystal intaglio begins with the mining and cutting of fine rock crystal from Brazil or Madagascar. A well-formed cabochon is the key to a beautifully made reverse intaglio and the tedious process of hand polishing it to perfection had to be completed before the design work could begin. A watercolour of the image was painted on the underside of the cabochon and an oil and diamond dust mixture was used along with up to 250 scribing tools to carve the design into the interior of the crystal “…the deeper the carving the more pronounced trompe l’oeil effect.” Once the carving was established the painting process began with extremely fine brushes and paint working in reverse to create incredibly detailed images.

The motifs most commonly found are sporting themes – horses, dogs, foxes and birds. This relatively secret process passed through family members, so keeping it exclusive and expectations of quality were very high. All our tie pins come with a stopper at the end of the pin.

Written by Olly Gerrish
Date & OriginEdwardian (1901-1914), English
MeasurementsCrystal 1.5 cm by 1.1 cm
ConditionVery Good
Hallmarks9 .375 ( for 9ct gold ) Year made 1969
C& F (Cropp & Farr)