A word of caution: avoid using the "hot pin" test, where a pin or needle warmed by a heat source is pressed into the plastic item. These easy-to-stow pads provide a similar result to Simichrome or the 409 method mentioned below, and have proven to be quite reliable. To test with Simichrome, sparingly apply a dab of the cream to a soft cloth and gently rub a small spot on the inside or back of the item being tested. We buy and sell Shultz bakelite bangles, necklaces, bracelets and brooches. Look for wear like scratches and patina that new pieces of plastic don't normally exhibit. Etsy has a surprisingly good range of Art Deco furniture, interior decor, art and prints, 1920s and 1930s fashion, accessories, jewellery and Bakelite… A distinct chemical odor similar to formaldehyde will linger with most genuine Bakelite. 1k. Bakelite bangle BEFORE professional polishing, Bakelite bangle AFTER professional polishing. Run the piece under hot tap water. There’s just something special about it, the colors, designs, feel, and that sound. Examine the piece with a jeweler's loupe or another type of magnifier, if needed. Hi Mary Ellen, Curious about a flea market find? There is something magical about Bakelite. Pamela is an antique expert and the author of three books on the subject. Black Bakelite pieces often fail this test as well. Until you get very comfortable identifying Bakelite, however, it's good to employ more than one of these tests. While originally used for industrial purposes it later found its way into the jewelry, radio & toy market. Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. In the first half of the 20th century, Bakelite was used widely for game pieces, billiard balls, phones, jewelry, buttons and more. Some involve intricate carvings, overdyes, and laminates or inserts that were never seen in the past. Anyone who likes vintage jewelry knows the allure of Bakelite. The best is yet to come! Another note regarding Bakelite. Value of Old Plastic Jewelry There are many ways to test valuable Bakelite pieces, and several of them require using only your senses. If not, it’s something else. Try gently tapping two pieces of another type of plastic together, and compare the sound to two pieces of true Bakelite the next time you're out shopping where this type of plastic is on display. How to test for Bakelite plastic. I see it in antique shops and flea markets and the colors are scrumptious! As you mentioned, this method and the 409 method don’t always register a true result. If so, it’s Bakelite. Vintage Bakelite earrings today. Look at the gorgeous Bakelite Jewelry on Etsy! If it’s true Bakelite it should have a somewhat sweet old chemical smell to it similar to formaldehyde. Rub the item in question vigorously with your thumb until you feel the plastic heat up. There are a number of wonderfully talented artists using old bakelite stock to create new items. This highly collectible jewelry became popular in the 1930s and was sold throughout the 1940s. You will often notice the heavier feel of Bakelite. Pam, Vintage Renude. IN your first two pictures at the top, are these different bracelets? Most of the early 19th century uses for Bakelite have fallen by the wayside, the demand for the vintage jewelry continues. There’s just something special about it, the colors, designs, feel, and that sound. This test works well with bangle bracelets that are made entirely of Bakelite and is a very good way to confirm a piece once you get it home. Anyone who likes vintage jewelry knows the allure of Bakelite. Buyer beware. One way to start learning about Bakelite identification is listening for the familiar "clunk" when two pieces you know to be Bakelite are tapped together. Vintage Unscripted is your source for vintage ideas, history, DIY, inspiration, decor, recipes and more. Today I want to talk about how to identify and collect Lucite. Following up with the hot water test when you get home is an option to consider. You'll need to do other tests to confirm, but this is a good point of departure. Some older plastics like celluloid are very flammable, and a hot pin can be dangerous to not only the plastic but to you as well. The heat from the water releases the formaldehyde-like scent of Bakelite. Bakelite or its cousin, Catalin, was used for lots more than jewelry. Your email address will not be published. It could be Bakelite, a synthetic compound developed in 1907 by Leo Baekeland, a Belgian-American chemist. I’ve tried the hot water method but with seasonal allergies, I lost my smell! Authentic bakelite jewelry can sell for thousands of dollars, so it's important you learn how to tell the difference between genuine and imposter plastic jewelry. Your space & toy market polish made for cleaning metals could be,... 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