Tuesday, April 12, 2011

CAMPHOR GLASS JEWELERY

Large Camphor Glass Necklace circa 1920..Rhodium plate.



I have been so looking forward to doing this post...

It has been quite hard work because there is not much information on the Internet regarding camphor glass jewelery... plus I had to take quite a few photos...unfortunately some of my necklaces are so tangled at the moment that I could not photo some of my better one's...but will do so in another post..maybe Edwardian Jewelery, because they are that too.

Most Camphor glass... is cloudy white glass, that is either blown or pressed, but it can come in other stunning colours but that did not happen so much until the early 1930's
Characterized by the star-burst pattern carved into the glass usually on the reverse of the piece with more than likely either a small diamond, piece of marcasite or a symbol of some kind as a center stone.
Pieces can be round, square, oval, or rectangle..rectangle seems to be the most popular.
Camphor Glass pieces started to be made first around 1890 mostly as mourning necklaces or brooches, and were made right up to the early 1940,s.... becoming perhaps most popular in the late 1920's to mid 1930's.
Reproduction pieces have been made in the last 20 or 30 years and it is really not easy for the lay man to tell the difference, it's just a little thing here or there a clasp perhaps...take for instance there were no safety clasps on pins back before 1930 they used C clasps.

2 pendants circa 1910 one on right is not Camphor glass

Take the above photo for example... Camphor glass piece on the left is circa 1910 it is made of pot metal that was most likely Rhodium plated but has now worn away...but the tiny bit of rose gold leaves and paste stones remain, same with the necklace on the right.....not camphor glass just paste, but rhodium plate remains as does the gold or gilt high lights.
How do I know the era of these 2 pieces ? ..well style is Art Nouveau all swirls, paper link or crinkle cut chain, which was popular at that time and the clasp that is original to the pendant on the right.
I own these two... and the one on the right is most likely Czech made although unmarked.
I also own the necklace in the first photo, I would think that to be 1920's in era because the shape is more Art Deco it would have been a cheap molded piece back in the day.



The two rings above are mine also.... the one on the right being my all time favorite ring, it cost me a fortune...It is Art Nouveau so turn of the century and Sterling...see the pretty light green enamel in the center.
The ring on the left is cheaper and just rhodium plate circa 1930.

Camphor Glass is extremely rare and good pieces cost the earth, I have been collecting it for over 10 years, I hate to let better pieces go but sometimes I do sell it...either to buy something else,to up grade my collection or because I need the money.
The last piece I sold was a 1900 mourning necklace in all original condition... I was paid close to $700.00 AU so that gives you a bit of an idea of what it is worth.




It is quite rare to get a *set* of camphor glass like the one seen above... that once again I own... but is for sale in my shop.
Age of this one ? I cant say for sure....it could be a reproduction, I removed 2 extra dangles from the original necklace to make myself a pair of earrings...so the above has been corrupted by my own little hands !! tis what happen often over time.



This one is all original except for the chain it is Sterling, and once again around 1900 era... center is marcasite.
I have to admit I have never seen camphor glass jewelery made in gold or yellow gold, it all seems to be sterling, pot metal, rhodium plate or white gold.
It seems that it was often made as pieces of jewelery for "groups" during the 1930's like Stone Masons or Scouts or Women's Associations even for Sorority pins and rings.
Most camphor glass comes from USA or Czechoslovakia it is impossible [almost] to find in Australia, I have had to import all but one of my pieces.


Above is another old one Art Nouveau, base metal is silver tone it was probably once rhodium plate, center is a small purple paste stone...and yes I own this too !! another favorite.


The above pendant is reproduction, this is just to try and show you the difference....I inserted the coral flower center and intend to make a matching chain at some stage.

I am afraid this is as far as I can go re my knowledge of camphor glass jewelery... if you have questions please feel free to contact me...as I said there is not much info out there...I just hope that some of my photos have explained what I can't in words... about the rarity and beauty that is antique camphor glass.

I leave you with some more photos of colored Camphor Glass pieces....no I do not own them...but I wish I did....
I credit on line seller: Aged and Opulent Jewelery for use of the photos... here is a link to her store

Where to Buy






Beautiful aren't they ? .....I just wish...

Can also be found on eBay... but be careful to buy true vintage and not reproductions.

14 comments:

  1. They are so pretty, as the Brocante season is getting underway here in France, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for some of these.
    XXX

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  2. Beautiful pieces. From time to time, I see pieces that look like this at flea markets under glass. Not sure how I would tell if it was the real thing or not. ? I'm here from the coffee shop and look forward to learning more from you and I invite you to my blog and follow along my journey too.

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  3. Nice pieces. I'm no expert in art deco or nouveau jewelry, but I often visit flea markets, if I run across any I'll be sure to photo and upload for your expertise.

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  4. Thanks for this blog. So interesting! I have never seen camphor glass before. I have studied Victorian mourning jewellery but obviously this is later. I love your favourite ring, it is fabulous!
    Erica
    www.thejewelleryloop.blogspot.com

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  5. I've popped in from the Coffee Shop and have been browsing around your blog. You've definitely got excellent taste and have a beautiful collection!

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  6. Do you know if camphor glass pieces from the 20s in white gold were rhodium plated? I know of such a piece and am trying to figure out if it is vintage or a reproduction.

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  7. Hi, Anonymous and Stella. I have had several pieces of camphor glass jewelry in 14K white gold. They are definitely of the era and not reproductions.

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  8. Beautiful Jewelry you have!! I have a pendant looks very alike yours, it was given by my mother-in-low, could you please have a look for me, thanks

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  9. Too bad you do not live closer as I would make you my new best friend. I too have collected vintage and antique jewelry for years and thanks to ebay I have amazed myself with what I find others are willing to part with. Last month I finally won an auction for my first piece of camphor glass circa 1910-20 with a gorgeous sparkling center stone. I took it to my favorite jewelry store to have the stone tested for diamond or rock crystal---it is diamond. The piece is not marked and it is oval but the jeweler was out and his assistant thought the piece sterling--paid $38.00 for it. Lucky find I know!!

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  10. I have just started to collect camphor glass....some of the pieces are so uniquely beautiful!
    I go to alot of flea markets and antique jewelry fairs and have seen some fabulous pieces...some out of my price range but I have also gotten a few unbelievable bargains. I am now craving an earring pendant set, your is pretty but I want something more "original". Thanks for the blog!!!

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  11. Just found this post. Fascinating info on a type of jewelry I didn't know know about.

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  12. I own a camphor glass necklace, it belonged to my grandmother. It was bought for her by my grandfather, I think when they were married in the 1920's. Not sure how much it's worth. I have a picture though. Here's my e-mail address if you would like me to send you a picture. It's in the original box.
    karenlesker@yahoo.com

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  13. Is the reproduction above w/ the coral center identifiable as such because the starburst lines are more distinct than seen in original pieces? That and maybe the simple border is the only way I can distinguish the pieces. But then, the piece w/ the marcasite center also has clear lines??? How can you tell?
    Also, does anyone know why camphor glass was first used in mourning jewelry?

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  14. Hi my name is Shelby I started getting into vintage jewelry for about a year now. I lost my dear sister at her young age of 52.She left behind some jewelry which was not worth in value but gave me an endless hobby . I have not stopped collecting from estate sales to yard sales so much fun I thank her for this. I came across some jewelry in a box and found which I think are camphor beads white and grey. They are pretty. I love your site. I will save it as a favorite for sure thank you! I am from Jersey.

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