Camphor Glass... it all started with a rock and a King
Long before camphor glass came into the picture we had rock crystals, otherwise later known as Stuart Crystals. These clear quartz stones were made popular after King Charles I had been executed in 1649. He was part of the Stuart Monarchs in England and at the time wearing a piece of "Stuart Crystal" would have symbolized your support and loyalty to the late King. If you are unsure of the story that surrounds his beliefs, the Battle of Naseby, and his imprisonment, you can find a quick recap here... if you're curious. 😉
By the 1920s, designers like Cartier had incorporated rock glass into their designs and proved that stones didn't have to be extremely rare or precious to make them popular and stunning. Back then, rock glass was easily mass produced which made it ideal for costume jewelry, as well. Not long after clear glass was being treated with hydrofluoric acid vapors, giving it a frosted finish, and it began to replace the original rock crystal. Named after the camphor trees, due to the similar opaque look of its resin, camphor glass has become one of the most reconsigned signature looks from the Art Deco Era.
Camphor glass is great for beginner collectors because the metal purity isn't what made the piece, the design was. So you can grab some pretty inexpensive pieces that are made of silver or base metal that are just as exquisite as the ones made of pure gold. The design was stellar across the board. Take for instance the bracelet shown above, this is a stunning camphor glass piece. It's made from silver with a clear crystal in the center, not gold, not a diamond, and the detail and craftsmanship is remarkable. A true piece of Art Deco history.