f you are a novas collector or have a penchant for 20th Century phenolic vintage plastic jewelry this passion can be addictive. Therefore, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the various names and terms that are given to phenolic plastics like: Bakelite, Celluloid, and Lucite just to name a few. All plastics, synthetic or natural, can be referred to as a polymer.
Personally, I think vintage plastic jewelry is absolutely fabulous! Take antique Bakelite jewelry for example it comes in an array of gorgeous colors, shapes, and textures; my favorite is Art Deco Bakelite jewelry. Bakelite was invented in the early 1900s, but making jewelry from this plastic became popular in the Art Deco period and on. The best Bakelite is heavy, shiny and exceptionally sturdy. I just love the deeply carved Art Deco Bakelite bangles and bracelets. Heavily carved bangles, bangles with polka dots or multiple colors laminated together, and usual figural brooches; pins are among the most expensive items sought by Bakelite jewelry collectors today.
The most common test for genuineness in Bakelite is smell. Place the jewelry under running hot water. Then smell it. The real Bakelite has a distinctive formaldehyde odour. That’s because Bakelite is a combination of carbolic acid and formaldehyde.
I think that vintage Celluloid jewelry is just great! I especially adore the made in Japan deeply molded 3-dimensional floral design vintage Celluloid bangles and brooches, there so pretty. Just imagine yourself with an antique, vintage Celluloid bangle/bracelet decorated with sparkling rhinestones; it looks so dazzling worn with a swank cocktail dress. You’ll be the Queen of Retro! Did you know that Celluloid was invented by John Wesley Hyatt in 1869 and was widely used between 1890-1917 through the Victorian Era, Art Nouveau and parts of the Art Deco Period? Because Celluloid is highly flammable, manufacturing was for a limited time and was discontinued until safer plastics were introduced, making antique Celluloid jewelry highly collectible today.
Dupont Company invented Lucite in 1931 during the Art Deco Period. Lucite and Bakelite were stronger plastics than previous ones and were more practical and less costly for the making of war supplies during WWII. After the War, Lucite and Bakelite were popular for the making of jewelry, Lucite purses, handbags, & Lucite accessories. Today Vintage Lucite Jewelry is sought after as much as Vintage Bakelite Jewelry. Through research and asking questions we gain knowledge to hopefully make appropriate choice(s) prior to making a purchase. I wish you all the best in your search for vintage plastic costume jewelry. And remember, it’s addictive. Happy Hunting! @ www.oldluxe.com