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Shultz Bakelite Jewelry

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an interview with Ron & Ester Shultz
by Jane at Morning Glory


Ron and Ester Shultz, husband & wife, have made some of the most charming,
colorful and interesting bakelite ever crafted. They utilize older pieces of
bakelite from the 1930-40s which they cut, carve, laminate and paint to
create their pieces. It was good to speak with
Ron & Esther about their work
and what it means to them.

Question: How did you begin working
with bakelite, Ester?

When we started making bakelite jewelry in the late 1980s, we were on the
antique show circuit. We would travel many miles each week to do a show
and be home as often as we could to make more pieces to sell. It was a hard work
but we loved it.

When we did see bakelite and begin to
learn about it we saw it’s potential and loved the colors.

We collected buttons by the hundreds
back then and
that is how we started making the necklaces that put
us in the business. We still like the buttons and look for them but they have
gotten very rare and expensive.

bakelite red apple and worm brooch with amazing laminated worm, butterscotch
and black laminated details, 3". The worm itself was amazingly hard
work…it is all laminated to make the turn in his neck. It is one of the
most difficult pieces Ron ever made. This piece is in the book "Bakelite
Pins" by Karima Parry, page 157.



SHULTZ bakelite
checked bangle and hat brooch, bangle 2-1/2" by 7/8" by 1/3", hat 3". The
colors include blue, shocking pink, yellow, lavender, red, black and

View #B35945

SHULTZ bakelite
transparent buttons in yummy colors of green, peacock blue, apple juice,
teal and red, so cheerfully colorful, 28" long and about 5/8" wide.
View #B64016

SHULTZ parrot brooch with a glass
eye and laminated pink, green, yellow, lavender, peach and rose This
piece is in the book Bakelite Pins" by Karima Parry, page 171. #B65219

SHULTZ bakelite red walking dog
brooch with blue painted hat and yellow fish and fishing pole, a jaunty
figure, 3". A similar piece can be seen in the book, "Bakelite
Pins" by Karima Parry on page 164. #B65298

SHULTZ bakelite pelican brooch
with applied red beak and rods body on yellow base, 2-3/4". Great
workmanship and wonderful colors!

Question: How did Ron get
started working with bakelite?

Ron & Ester: Ron found a big Bakelite clear
ball at a flea market here in
Florida one day, took a hack saw to it and sawed it into slices. From of one of
the slices he turned out a wonderful little dolphin. His tail was
curved and his fins were wavy. That was the first ever Shultz piece.

We both had a hand in the carving of the pieces. It was a such fun.
It took many years of work and experimentation to arrive at the quality of work
that we do today. Every day was a learning experience and we are still learning.
It has been well over 20 years now.

Question: Do you keep an archive or
pictures of your own pieces?

Ron & Ester: We do not have a collection of our jewelry.
It has all gone out the door almost as soon as it was made. When we did the
shows, we would have a big display of our jewelry in cases and the customers
just loved the wonderful bakelite colors.

SHULTZ bakelite
green chunky bangle with striped dots and overlapping cream and black dots,
2-1/2" by 1-5/8" by 1/3".

bakelite two row bangle with multi-colored slice checks alternating with
apple juice checks, slices are red, yellow, green and black, 2-1/2" by 1" by
1/3". #B65665

SHULTZ bakelite
two row rainbow bangle, 2-1/2" by 1-1/2" by 1/3". Not only does this have
every color of the rainbow, but the curves make a lovely optical illusion of
circles as well.

SHULTZ stacks in cream,
yellow and orange.
View #B

SHULTZ stack with a rainbow of

SHULTZ checks and
dots stacks.

Question: What is it about working
with vintage bakelite that appeals to you?

Ron: I like working with
Bakelite because it is so unique. It can look so average
and be turned into something so beautiful, charming and whimsical. It can
bring joy and happiness to collectors
and I like that.

It holds a place of its own and only grows better with age. Sometimes I wish I had taken pictures of
everything we have made but I was always too busy making it and selling it to do

SHULTZ bakelite red and
green Christmas wreath brooch, marked on back "Shultz #4",
View #B31431

SHULTZ bakelite cherries, bananas and ladybug brooch, 4" by 2-1/2".
View #B31416

SHULTZ bakelite
red Christmas tree pin with yellow top star and ornaments, 3-1/3".
View #B25287

red bakelite and leather cowboy brooch with hand painted details,

bakelite strawberry brooch with green painted bracts and carved seeds, 2-1/3".
View #B13966

yellow and black bakelite 2-1/2" bowler pin with painted details.
View #B15955

Question: What part of the process do
each of you do?

Ester: We both work on the jewelry together.
I am the ace carver. I do the carving on the pins and the reverse carved
bracelets and I help Ron with the dotting.

He does the checks and the bulk of the finishing. He is the
sander and polisher. It is exacting and sometimes tedious work, but we enjoy it.

checked bangle combination.

Shultz bangles stack.

SHULTZ dots and checks.

SHULTZ bakelite yellow lined
"Ron’s Special" bangle, 2-1/2" by 1-1/8" by 1/3". These specials have
different colors and patterns from every angle, and are each one-of-a-kind.
View #B31589

SHULTZ bakelite one-of-a-kind butterscotch
inside and multi-colored stripes and geometrics design outside one-of-a-kind "Ron’s
Special" bangle View
View #B31463

SHULTZ bakelite pink lined
"Ron’s Special" bangle, 2-1/2" by 1-1/8" by 1/3". These specials have
different colors and patterns from every angle, and are each one-of-a-kind.
View #B21590

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

View #B31874 and
SHULTZ stack of bakelite checked
bangles in citrus and denim colors with apple juice.
SHULTZ bakelite bangles in
primary colors and black & white.

Question: What pieces you you
like best to work on? To wear?

Ester: We like doing the bracelets best. It is something we can do together,
and they are always popular. There are so may different things you can do to
a bracelet. When we think we have exhausted all our ideas another one pops up.

As for wearing our jewelry. I have one piece that I have kept
and love to wear. It is a Scotty dog that is sitting with his back to you and looking
over his shoulder. I have only done one of them and like him so much I kept him.

bakelite rare palm tree brooch in laminated in red, blue, green, yellow and
blue on a red base, 3" by 2-1/4".

SHULTZ bakelite buttons
brooch in butterscotch, red, green and black with red bar top, 3-1/4".
piece is in the book Bakelite Pins" by Karima Parry, page 175.
View #B64240

SHULTZ bakelite school days
brooch with ABC dice, a pencil and a red apple, 2-1/2".
View #B64282

SHULTZ bakelite three row bangle
in wonderful red, yellow, green, purple, blue and pastel blue, 2-1/2" by
1-1/2" by 1/4". View #B64681

SHULTZ bakelite three row
bangle in transparent red and cream with dots in blue, pink, yellow, red
and black, 2-1/2" by 1-1/2" by 1/3". #B64449

SHULTZ bakelite three row check
bangle in lovely transparent green and cream, an older Shultz piece, 2-1/2"
by 1-1/3" by 1/3". #B64683

NOTE: Shultz bakelite jewelry is made from vintage 1930-40s
bakelite and Catalin, not a contemporary material. They use old bakelite
bangles, sheets, rods and dice to create their wonderful jewelry. Like all
vintage bakelite, some of the colors will mellow and deepen over time. It is a
lovely process and the exact same thing that happened to all bakelite over time.

BARBARA WOOD was a dealer on line and in Houston, Texas, for many years. She was
the best and most enthusiastic promoter of their work, and handled hundreds of
their pieces over the years. She has since retired, but you can see many of the
pieces she once had any of the books about Shultz Bakelite Jewelry and on my web

Barb and I have been friends for many years, so when she retired
from the business several years ago, she sent all her remaining jewelry to us
here at Morning Glory Jewelry to sell for her. It’s been a really delightful

SHULTZ bakelite blue moon
bangles with dots and checks. #B32183, 24763, 31433

SHULTZ bakelite dots
spacer bangles. #B32182, 32181, 31417 and 31418

SHULTZ bakelite stack of
two-row checked bangles and Belle Kogan dot spacers.

SHULTZ bakelite cream, black, apple juice and brown bangle stack. #Bszc15

SHULTZ bakelite pink and black
bangles combo.

SHULTZ bakelite
white/cream and black dot bangles. #B31843

NOTE: To BUY Shultz Bakelite
Please click