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Bakelite Bangles




Morning Glory Antiques & Jewelry

presents
~


JEWEL CHAT

Costume Jewelry Magazine






Bakelite Bangles





Leo Beakeland (1863 – 1944), a Belgian who had moved to America, was the
inventor of Bakelite.

Made by the condensation of phenol and
formaldehyde in the presence of a catalyst and used

for everything from tools and telephones to
jewelry, "Bakelite" is frequently used as a generic name for all phenol
formaldehyde, including Catalin and Marblette, which came later and in a
wider range of colors. Bakelite is a thermoset plastic, meaning that
once cast or molded and hardened, it will not melt, burn, boil, or dissolve.
It could only be worked by carving, sawing, tumbling, painting and gluing.

Bakelite jewelry was at it’s zenith from the late 1920s till the
start of WWII in 1942. The lack of money and need for inexpensive fun during
the Depression era of the 1930s gave the whimsy, colorful and cheerful look
of bakelite jewelry the perfect market. The sophisticated Deco and machine
age look of some of the pieces made them fashion-forward at the time.

Bakelite had a renaissance in the 1980s. It was featured on the cover
of "Connoisseur" Magazine in July of 1985, and in 1987 when the famous
artist Andy Warhol passed away, his huge collection of bakelite jewelry went
up for sale at Sotheby’s Auctions and fetched record prices.

BAKELITE IDENTIFICATION
Sound, Smell, Testing
Once you have handled a good bit of bakelite, the feel alone will
often tell you it is not plastic. It tends to be heavier, make a
"clunking" sound when tapped together with another bakelite
piece, and it usually has readily identifiable
colors. If rubbed vigorously with your thumb until it becomes warm, it
also has a distinctive smell. Some people can get this smell, but others
cannot. To further determine a bakelite piece, you can use a polish
called Simichrome, which comes out of it’s tube a light pink in color.
Squeeze a cap-sized amount on a white cloth and rub the piece of
bakelite. If it turns a mustard yellow, you probably have a positive
test. A brownish-yellow result may be just dirt, so clean the piece and try
again. Using a hot pin to test bakelite may leave a pin-prick which,
however small, is damaging and has a negative effect on price so is not
recommended. I hear it’s even made with so that it will test positive
with Simichrome, though I haven’t seen a piece in person yet.
Fake bakelite is now being made in several places in the world, so it’s
best to buy from a reputable dealer who knows her bakelite well.





BAKELITE leaf carved
hinged bangle and brooch in creamed corn,
butterscotch side hinged 6-1/4" by 1-1/4" wide by 1/4" thick
bangle and 3-5/8" carved veined leaves brooch. See Grasso’s
Bakelite Jewelry
page 44.
View
View
View
Both colors
#B16247 and #B14558

BAKELITE
carved apple juice hinged "stardust" bangle with flecks of
gold leaf, circa 1937. This bangle is shown in Wassertrom & Pina "Bakelite
Jewelry", page 49. View
#B25434
BAKELITE lilac-apricot
translucent hinged
bangles, from top:
#B13691 back hinge, 6-1/2" by 1".
#B14004 side hinge, 6-1/3" by 1".
#B18090 side hinged with added safety, 6-1/8" by 1".
#B13692 back hinged, 6-1/4" by 7/8
Wonderful detailed carving and matched sets are always desirable.
This apple juice "stardust" bangle is a very unusual piece.
It was made by adding gold flakes to the bakelite as it was poured.
Colors that are uncommon, such as these apricot hinged
bangles with a lavender tinge, are always in demand. The deep intricate
carving is best as well.



BAKELITE
heavily carved root beer bangle, 2-1/4" by 7/8" by 1/3".
#B16034
BAKELITE
translucent pea green heavily carved bangle, 2-1/2" by 1" by 1/4".
#B29010

BAKELITE
transparent red carved bangle, 2-1/2" by 3/4" by 1/3". #B16033

Interesting color and excellent carving make this bangle a piece of
wearable art.
These matching bangles are the color of green that has
heavily oxidized over the years, leaving the edges transparent and the centers
translucent.
Rich deep transparent apple red and well-carved and tumbled
design create a jewel to own and to wear.


BAKELITE
cover and
article in July 1985 issue of Connoisseur Magazine.

CARVED BAKELITE




BAKELITE
red carved bangle, 2-1/2" by 3/4" by 1/2". See page
66 of Davidov & Dawes "The Bakelite Jewelry Book".
View
#B17711

BOTH
caramel and red bakelite bangles.

BAKELITE butterscotch
carved "tire tracks" bangle, 2-1/2" by 5/8" by 1/4".
View #B28290

In general, the deeper and more elaborate the carving, the
more desirable the piece.
Exquisite matched set are always sought after. While this is a very nice bangle, it is less wide and not as
deeply carved, so would not bring as high a price as the two on the left.




BAKELITE black leafy design
well carved bangle, 2-1/2" by 3/4" by 1/3". #V29013

BAKELITE black carved bangle,
2-1/2" by 1/2" by 1/2". #V28006

BAKELITE
black carved bangle, 2-1/2" by 3/4" by 1/4". #B17707

Size counts when it comes to thickness as people tend to like
the thicker feel, and this thick chunky bangle has wonderful
carving.
This bangle, which is not quite as chunky, would be a
mid-range piece.
While this is a very nice bangle, it is less thick and not as
deeply carved, so would not bring as high a price as those on the left.
Black has gotten to be difficult to find, so that helps the value, too.

REVERSE CARVED BAKELITE




BAKELITE apple juice stretchy
bracelet with reverse carved apple juice floral front, 6-1/2" when relaxed
by 1-1/4" wide at front and 1" wide at back.
View
View #B32504
BAKELITE green and yellow
marbled stretchy bracelet with reverse carved apple juice floral front,
6-5/8" by 1-1/3" front by 1" back.
View
View #B32502
BAKELITE green stretchy
bracelet with reverse carved apple juice floral front, 6-5/8" by 1-1/3"
front by 1" back. View
View #B32503
Carving is done from the back of the piece and it is then
painted.
Clean crisp carving with a design that can be seen easily
from the front is a sign of quality. This style of bracelet is being
reproduced and so far, the reproductions I have seen are cloudy and dark
instead of transparent
like these.
These are sometimes called "stretchies" because they are
strung on elastic. That makes them easier to wear if you have a smaller hand
and wrist, too.



BAKELITE reverse carved
stretchy bracelet, green and apple juice with square center, 6" by 1-1/4"
front by 1" back, a few tiny smooth flea bites at edges. This bracelet
was featured in the October 2001
"Victoria Magazine".
View
View #B32506
BAKELITE reverse carved stretchy bracelets. BAKELITE reverse carved
stretchy bracelet, red and apple juice, 7" by 1-5/8" front by 1" back.
View
View #B32505

RESIN-WASHED & OVER-DYED BAKELITE
Dye or glaze wiped over bakelite tints the underlying color
and highlights the carving. These happen to be one of my personal
favorites!




BAKELITE black
cherry saucer-shaped marbled slash carved and black overdyed bangle, 2-1/2" by 1" by 1/3".
#B12433
BAKELITE
carved and over-dyed bangles
BAKELITE bangle in
caramel and chocolate marbled with black resin washed interior, 2-1/2" by 5/8" by 1/3".
#B16602
Resin washed marbled burnt sienna bakelite.

A whole arm full of resin washed bangles in
different vintage colors. These are also called over dyed.

Good color, warm tones, and easy to mix
with other pieces.

TRANSPARENT BAKELITE
circa 1935 to 1942




BAKELITE apple juice
faceted chunky bangle, 2-1/2" by 1" by 7/16". See
Grasso’s "Bakelite Jewelry" page 33. #B17850

BAKELITE
apple juice faceted bangle, 2-1/2" by 1/2" by 3/8". #B17849

BAKELITE apple juice
faceted wide bangle2-1/2" by 1-1/4" by 3/8". #B16378

Apple juice is one of the most popular colors of bakelite, as
it mixes well with almost every other color. The faceting on this bangle
gives it an added brilliance.






BAKELITE PRYSTAL
transparent ruby red bangle, 2-1/2" by 1/2" by 1/3". #B24335

BAKELITE PRYSTAL
transparent apple juice bangle, 2-1/2" by 1/2" by 1/3". ALL
#B24337

BAKELITE
PRYSTAL
transparent pomegranate bangle, 2-1/2" by 1/2" by 1/3".
#B24336

Prystal is considered by most collectors transparent bakelite with a secondary "flash" of
color when it is held to the light.

BAKELITE "STRETCHIES"

BRACELETS STRUNG ON ELASTIC




BAKELITE
root beer colored elastic strung belt buckle bracelet, 6-3/4" by 7/8". See a
similar bracelet on page 57 of Davidov & Dawes "The Bakelite Jewelry Book".
#B11434
BAKELITE
chunky
butterscotch segments with celluloid cameo elastic strung bracelet, extra thick and chunky, 1-3/4"
by 1-1/4" cameo panel, band 1" wide.
View #B28896
BAKELITE lipstick red bakelite
stretch bracelet, a wonderful 2" wide. The matching necklace for this
can be seen on page 50 of Davidov & Dawes "The Bakelite Jewelry Book". #B13102
Transparent and marbled translucent root beer segments are
strung on elastic and closed at the front with a buckle.
Thick chunky bakelite segments are carved and strung on
elastic, cantered with a celluloid cameo.
Strung on three rows of elastic, this wide bracelet is a
lovely color of lipstick red.

EUROPEAN BAKELITE
BAKELITE & CHROME




BAKELITE green marbled
round 2-1/2" disk mounted on a chrome hinged 7" bangle.
View
View #B25435

BAKELITE
red and black bakelite beads necklace with silver bead spacers, 16".
View #B11612

BAKELITE reverse
carved apple juice and silver tone chrome plated metal bird brooch, probably European, 3-1/2". See
Grasso’s Bakelite Jewelry page 75.
View #B13439

The combination of bakelite and chrome is a typically Deco
style.
Many pieces of European bakelite jewelry included the use of
metal as well as bakelite.
The apple juice body on this bird brooch is reverse carved to
add interest and dimension.

LAMINATED BAKELITE






BAKELITE
red, cream and black laminated bangle. #B20230


BAKELITE
laminated bangles, circa 1940. These were originally patriotic red, white
and blue, and have oxidized over the years to these colors.


BAKELITE
and wood square bangle set of 4, green, caramel, caramel
marbled and black, each 2-5/8" by 5/8" by 1/2". View
View #B20851

Although it has aged over time, originally this bangle would
have been a patriotic red, white and blue.
Laminated with special glue and then polished as one piece,
bakelite could be combined colors, or laminated with wood or metal.

FACETED BAKELITE



BAKELITE black wide faceted
bangle, 2-1/2" by 1-1/8" by 1/8". #B29024

BAKELITE red and black faceted
bangles group, wonderful worn together. #B29024-6

BAKELITE red faceted
bangle, 2-1/2" by 5/8" by 1/4". #B29025

As with gem stones, facets add reflective brilliance to
bakelite.




BAKELITE faceted
greenish-butterscotch bangle, 2-1/2" by 1/3" by 1/4". #B29023
BAKELITE faceted translucent
mahogany-wine-lavender bangle, 2-1/2" by 3/4" by 1/3". See faceted bangles
in Burkholz’ "The Bakelite Jewelry Collection" on page 27.
View #B29030
BAKELITE faceted translucent
burgundy bangle, 2-1/2" by 1" by 1/4". Burkholz’ "The
Bakelite Jewelry Collection" on page 27. #B29031

CLAMPERS
Hinged Bakelite Bangles




BAKELITE green
transparent reverse carved hinged bangle with three rows of clear
rhinestones, 6-1/3" by 1-1/4".
View #B24329

BAKELITE red pierced
back hinged 6-1/4" by 1" bangle with double rose carved front. See
page 68 of Davidov & Dawes "The Bakelite Jewelry Book" and
in Burkholz’ "The Bakelite Jewelry Collection" on page 56.
View
#B13975

BAKELITE Royal Dynasty 17
jewel butterscotch hinged bangle wrist watch, keeps good time, 6-1/3"
around the inside, 1-1/8" wide at the front and 1" wide at the back. The
face is a milk-chocolate brown with white hands, and it is hinged on the
back and opens on the side for ease of wearing. See Grasso’s
"Bakelite Jewelry" page 50.
View
View #B16583

Reverse carved bakelite in combination with clear rhinestones
demonstrate the versatility of bakelite jewelry.
This carved double flower motif was also used in brooches and
clips.

MAIDEN’s or CHILD’s BANGLES
The standard bangle is 2-1/2" in diameter, but I
collect these smaller 2-1/8" to 2-1/4"
diameter bakelite bangles because they are just my size, and I am always
in the market for them.




SPACERS… I am
always looking for the small 2-1/4" diameter bangles to buy… especially the
chunky or the well-carved ones like these. Each is 2-1/4" by 1/4" by
1/4".
View
View
#B16686

BAKELITE golden clad black
maiden’s bangle,2-1/4 by 1-1/4" by 3-16". Circa mid-1930s.
View #B27556

BAKELITE green carved "maiden’s bracelet" only 2-1/4" diameter for
a smaller wrist, and 5/8" wide by 3/16" thick.
View #B24363
BAKELITE red carved "maiden’s bracelet" only 2-1/4" diameter for a
smaller wrist, and 5/8" wide by 3/16" thick. #B24364

Well carved sets are particularly hard to find in the smaller
size.
Gold overlay is hard to find in any size, especially in good condition.

CONTEMPORARY BAKELITE JEWELRY MAKER-
SHULTZ

The Shultzs use vintage bakelite and by carving, cutting, inlaying,
gluing and polishing, they create new designs of old pieces. Their work
is collectible in it’s own right, and is usually signed.
To learn more about Shultz Bakelite, click
HERE.




SHULTZ bakelite apple
juice bangle with large marbled translucent dots, 2-1/2" by 1-1/4" by
1/4" and bakelite apple juice bangle with large marbled
translucent dots, 2-1/2" by 7/8" by 1/3". #B31834
and #B31835 View

SHULTZ bakelite red and
green two-row checked octagonal bangle with overlaid translucent dots and
stripes, 2-1/2" by 7/8" by 1/2".
View
View #B31913.
SHULTZ bakelite two-row checked
bangle with clear and curved pastel checks, 2-1/2" by 1-1/8"
by 1/2". View
#B31914
View

SHULTZ bakelite white
bangle with multi-colored dots, 2-5/8" by 1-1/2" by 1/3" with Shultz
green marbled bangle with oval double dots in red, black, pink, orange,
yellow, green and purple. #B31544 & #B31520

One of the most asked questions about SHULTZ is,
"How does he DO that?"

The answer is… I do not know! His methods have been
perfected over years and years of work, as as you might imagine, they are
not to be shared.

One thing I do know is that vintage bakelite is always
used, and since it cannot be melted, all his work is done by cutting,
carving, gluing and polishing.




BAKELITE
creamed corn thick chunky bangle 1/2" by 3/8" by 2 1/2". #B13744


SHULTZ
bakelite white with multi-colored dots bangle, 2-1/2" by 1-1/2"
by 1/2".
#B25016

SHULTZ bakelite cream dotted bangle,
1" x 2-1/2" x 3/16". View View
#B13757

The SHULTZS may use a vintage bangle such as the creamed
corn colored plain bangle shown above.

After adding multi-colored dots and polishing the bangle, it
will return to it’s original color, in this case, white.

Over the years, depending on the light and air to which it
is exposed, the bangle will oxidize and return to the creamy color
again, and sometimes even the dots will change color a bit.




.SHULTZ bakelite multi-colored stripes bangles on a green
and a yellow base, 2-1/2"
by1-1/8" by 1/3".
View

SHULTZ
View
View #B31874 and
#B31875
SHULTZ stack of bakelite checked
bangles.
SHULTZ bakelite bangles in
primary colors and black & white.

Not only are the vivid colors a part of the bakelite fun
for SHULTZ pieces…

...but so are the ways they can be mixed and matched, giving
each bangle a whole new look…

…and allowing a marvelous way to personalize a
collection.




SHULTZ bakelite "Ron’s Special"
bangle with vintage carved bangles on either side.
View #B31464
SHULTZ bakelite black
octagonal bangle with pink edges and black and cream dots, 2-1/2" by 1" by
1/4" to 1/2" thick..
View
View
#B29795

SHULTZ bakelite checks and dots mixed with beautifully carved 1940 vintage
pea-green and golden bakelite bangles.

BAKELITE & "FAKELITE"

NEW "BAKELITE" CARVED
& CHECKED BANGLES
Often called "fakelite"
These are contemporary pieces made of a slightly
different formula than the vintage bakelite and hand carved in the
orient or made in Europe and Asia. These are chunky bangles and can be fun to mix with older bakelite.
Some are meant to fool the public into
thinking they are vintage, so they should not command prices as high as
vintage pieces would. Some are a bit awkward and there is often an
almost gummy feel to them with rounded edges in the carving and sloppy
joints. There are also many new dotted bangles and figural brooches
currently being imported from Europe
and Asia as well. Most but not all will not test positive using the Simichrome test.
These are NOT the same quality or desirability and contemporary artists
like Shultz and Pantti.




NEW BAKELITE heavily
carved bangle from the Orient, inexpensive and fun to wear.
#B24324

NEW BAKELITE heavily
carved bangle from the Orient, inexpensive and fun to wear.
#B24322

NEW BAKELITE
heavily carved purple bangle from the Orient, inexpensive and fun to wear.
#B23014




NEW
BAKELITE
heavily carved bangle from the Orient, inexpensive and fun to
wear. #B23018

NEW
BAKELITE
heavily carved bangle from the Orient, inexpensive and fun to
wear. #B23019

NEW BAKELITE heavily carved
bangle from the Orient, inexpensive and fun to wear. #B23016



NEW BAKELITE
Asian hand carved green and yellow bangle. #B23017

NEW BAKELITE
Asian hand carved navy bangle. #B23015


NEW BAKELITE
Asian hand carved carnelian colored bangle. #B22878




BAKELITE new
bakelite oriental hand carved bangle, iced tea colored with reverse carved
fish, 2-1/2" by 1-1/4" by 1/3". #B24402


BAKELITE
new bakelite oriental hand carved iced tea colored bangle,
2-1/2" by 1-1/4" by 1/3". #B24401

BAKELITE new
bakelite oriental hand carved avocado bangle, 2-5/8" by 1" by 1/3".
#B24400



NEW "BAKELITE" contemporary dot
bangle.
View #B31814
NEW "BAKELITE" contemporary dot
bangles. #B31813
NEW "BAKELITE" contemporary dot
bangle.
View #B31814




PLASTIC transparent
dotted bangle, orange with black dots, contemporary, 2-1/3" by 1" by 1/3".
#B28165

PLASTIC
transparent dotted bangle, green with yellow dots, contemporary, 2-1/3"
by 1" by 1/3". #B28166

PLASTIC transparent
dotted bangle, cranberry with black dots, contemporary, 2-1/3" by 1" by 1/3".
#B28167




CHERRY
swirl contemporary bangle bracelet,
black cherry and white marbled with lavender dots, 2-5/8" by 1-1/3" by
5/16". #B29982

BANGLE
two-row bracelet checkerboard black and
"gold dust" swirl, 2-1/2" by 1-1/4" by 7/16". #B29983

BANGLE bracelet checkerboard black and white
marbled to gray and mustard yellow, 2-1/2" by 1-1/4" by 7/16".
View
#B29984





BANGLE
checks cloud and red with aqua bands, 2-5/8" by 1-1/4" by 1/4".
#B29985

BANGLE bracelet checkerboard cloud and
red with aqua bands, 2-5/8" by 1-1/4" by 1/4". #B29986

BANGLE bracelet checkerboard cream blue green,
damaged. #B29987





BANGLE
bracelet
checkerboard mustard and lavender 3-row, 2-5/8" by 1-7/8" by 1/3".
#B29988

BANGLE bracelet checkerboard red-orange
& white, seam slightly split. #B29989

BANGLE bracelet checkerboard tan and lavender
marbled with white and silvery "cloud dust", 3-row, 2-5/8" by 1-7/8" by 1-1/3".
View #B29990