This stone has been ingeniously carved not only to incorporate the thin red layer of the stone to describe the face, but also the pupils of the eyes. The level of skill required to execute such a design indicates that the gem was carved by a first rate lapidary operating in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, such as members of the Miseroni or Saracchi workshops. Compare with the North Italian, mid-16th-century cameo with a cockerel Mannheim published by Ingrid Weber in Kostbare Steine: Die Gemmensammlung des Kurfursten Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz, Munich, 1992, p. 92, no. 48.
Overall, the condition of the cameo is good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are some naturally occurring striations in the stone, including to the left of the owl's feet. There are some very minor surface abrasions. There is a beautiful reddish layer to the stone, which is apparent in the eyes, but also apparent elsewhere, including to the sides of the body and to the feet. The jagged edge at the feet is deliberate, and represents the edges of the talons and perch. There is a small naturally occurring inclusion at the centre of the naturally occurring burst of red flecks at the centre of the stone. There is minor wear to the gold ring, including minor surface abrasions. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."