This spectacular gold Egyptian revival charm features a sphinx that has been reverse carved, and hand-painted. This is called an Essex crystal, which is a cut cabochon of crystal with a carved design on the back. The technique of creating this floating effect is very precise, and dates back to the 1860's. This pendant is a vintage piece, featuring the Roman numeral of XL (40) onto it, perhaps dating this piece to 1940. Or this number could refer to something else. Regardless of the date of this piece, it is a wonderful item, made with superb craftsmanship and in a very old and special method of intaglio.
The cabochon has a lot on dimensionality, measuring 1/2 an inch. The lettering on the piece is in a striking red, which contrasts with the green branch and yellow sphinx on the pin. The crystal is mounted onto 14 karat yellow gold and is surrounded by two rows of twisted gold wire. The overall crystal included gold frame measures 3/4 of an inch.
This unisex piece makes a curious collectible, a great charm or pendant with all the mystery of the Pharaohs and Ancient Egypt.