The reverse intaglio technique requires patience and time. Whether you are carving Lucite or rock crystal the "stone" will need to be cut, polished or prepared/prepped to accept the carving. For example, carving rock crystal which is a natural quartz mineral will need to be cut with a diamond saw and ground into the perfect cabochon and that requires polishing and more polishing which is all done by hand. The design is then painted on usually with watercolors. Next, a scribe etches the design into the stone. Finally, when the engraved design is finished it is painted. The design is so tiny that often brushes with a single hair are used to apply the paint. In some case, silver was employed to further enhance the design. The clear cabochon dome magnified the miniature a bit. These pieces are generally unsigned. These "paintings under glass" are remarkably life-like with the produced three-dimensional effect and its exceptional depth. Their value depends on age, condition, subject matter, setting, and size. An intaglio that gives the illusion the subject rises above the base is termed cavo rilievo.
Crystal carving and painting has always been a family enterprise and is one of the few art forms of modern times to develop in secrecy, and passed on from one generation to the next. Yet, today, with very few artists possessing either the knowledge or ability to produce crystals, the process of reverse intaglio is considered one of the most respected art forms. The popularity of these crystals lasted until the 1960's.
Show Stable Artisans have some exquisite pieces: