Essex crystals were originated by William Essex in around 1870. Flawless polished flawless rock-crystal is engraved in intaglio from the back, and painted with a very fine brush, and is usually backed with Mother o’ Pearl, as in this example set within a rose-cut diamond and ruby border. How it came to be sold by a jeweller in Liege, Belgium, we shall never know, but it does seem to be in its original case. The subject – a woman riding side-saddle on a chestnut horse – is most unusual. Riding side-saddle, which was more-or-less obligatory for women at least until the 20th century has now had a major revival. Although it looks precarious, I’m assured that the rider is more secure than riding astride. The brooch is approximately one inch: 27 mm in diameter.