Bakelite jewelry became especially popular in the 1930's and 1940's, after a wider assortment of colors was introduced. The new batch of Bakelite colors captured the imagination of more and more jewelry companies. Coco Chanel was one famous designer who offered Bakelite jewelry and accessories.*"
It's EYE CANDY!!! There is just nothing more fun then to load on an armful of funky Bakelite Bangles! Way back when, in the early 1990's, I set up a booth every Sunday at the local flea market. I sold anything and everything that I had found during the week at thrifts, garage/yard sales and estate sales. But I mostly wanted to find and sell costume jewelry and Bakelite was my FAV!!! Of course these were the days before Ebay and Amazon, and so Bakelite was easier to find (although still not easy, easy) and we (me and my flea market buddies) bought and sold it way lower then market value. I literally sold bangles right off my arm! As much as I loved wearing tons of Bakelite Bangles at a time, more then not I was made an offer for them that I just couldn't refuse.
Of course Bakelite wasn't just used for bangles. There are also pins, necklaces, earrings, beads, etc. And not only jewelry either! Lots of kitchenware such as spoons, forks, knives, serving pieces, pie cutters, etc often had Bakelite handles. Telephones were made from Bakelite, game pieces too. The list could go on and on. Of course I LOVE the flamingo pin above! But please note that I don't own these pieces shown although I wish I did! Sadly the only Bakelite I own now are some kitchenware and one large green Bakelite bangle...the bangle was given to me from my Mom, only 2 months before she passed away. Of course I could never part with it. She paid 25 cents for it at a yard sale!
Over the years I've had many many Bakelite finds. But I'm a seller (first before a collector) and have sold all I've had on Ebay. Lately it has gotten harder and harder to find Bakelite as so many more people are in the "know". I mean sure you can find it on Ebay and Amazon, but rarely these days at a yard or estate sale. So if you find yourself loving Bakelite, buy buy buy!! I think it's a great investment; I can't ever see it losing it's appeal or value.
There are two women in history that had a huge influence on Bakelite jewelry. They are Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker.
|Josephine Baker inspired bangle.|
|Josephine Baker wearing Bakelite and not much else. :)|
Josephine Baker commissioned Bakelite gifts for friends and these pieces are very sought after. These pieces are fun and whimsical. Click here to see Google Images.
|Coco Chanel Bakelite Bangles.|
|Coco Chanel wearing the above bangles. LOVE this picture! Actually I LOVE all things Coco!|
Coco Chanel helped to popularize Bakelite when she made ‘costume’ jewelry acceptable and affordable by using Bakelite. Prior to Chanel, genuine gemstone, pearl and metal jewelry wasn’t affordable for the average woman, along with the fact that precious metals and glass were sacrificed for the war effort.
Believe it or not, Bakelite is still being produced. The worst thing about the Bakelite reproductions is that it is actually being produced, using the original formula. This procedure is very dangerous and is only done overseas. To me, these pieces are not really "fake" as they are truly being made in the same way and are really Bakelite. It's just that they are not true "vintage" as many sellers would have you believe. But if the seller is upfront that what he/she is selling is "new" Bakelite, not "vintage", and if you love the piece, I say go for it!!