Good morning, dear readers, and Happy Easter!  

I hadn't been planning on blogging today, it being Easter and all, but I made a happy little discovery last night, and I had to share it with someone, so of course on the blog it goes!  I promise this blog won't turn into a fashion or vintage blog, but hey, it's my blog and occasionally shiny things which are not nail polish turn up and I am distracted.


As I've been getting more interested in classic silhouettes and vintage clothing, I've seen lots of things about Bakelite jewelry, mostly bangles and the like.  I thought the concept was pretty neat, and I loved the idea of being able to look through unassuming plastic jewelry and literally sniff out pieces that were 70-100 years old.  Besides, they're bright and colorful and make a very satisfying clunking sound when they tap together, not a tinny plastic-y sound.
Anyway.  I decided to bite the bullet and buy a single tiny bangle from 57th Street Antiques Mall so I'd have a piece for reference, so I went in and looked around and bought the cheapest bangle I could find.  Yay, my first Bakelite!


So fast forward several weeks, and yesterday I was wearing this amber-colored choker necklace I have.  It belonged to a family friend's great aunt, and she (the friend, not the aunt) let me go through a big box of costume jewelry that was left and pick out any pieces I wanted.  I don't wear it very much, because I don't wear much orange, but it matches a new pair of sandals I bought so I was finally wearing it.
When I was changing back into comfy clothes yesterday evening, I took off the necklace and was thinking it was rather heavy for how small it was, and the beads made a nice low clicking sound, and after I'd been holding it in my hands for a minute I gave it a cursory whiff and immediately went "Yuck!  ....ooooh!" (the typical reaction?) and scurried off to hold it under warm water for better confirmation of the smell.
A quick google search later and I'd found several examples of Bakelite beads in the same style, and even an almost-identical necklace selling for $250.


I don't have any of the other products also used to confirm Bakelite from impostors, but I'm pretty sure this is it anyway.  When I looked closer I also could see that each bead was slightly different and that the carved designs have some tiny flaws.

So maybe the bangle wasn't my first Bakelite jewelry after all.  Huh.

Since I was looking at my costume jewelry, I poked around into my bead box where I had a pile of green beads waiting to be restrung.  They had been on a memory wire coil bracelet (received years ago from the same friend), but the coil was too small for my wrist and the ends dug in painfully whenever I tried to wear it.  I picked up a few of the green beads and ran those under hot water too.


Yuck! Smelly! Awful!

...More Bakelite?  A quick Google confirmed that memory wire bracelets of this style did indeed exist.  I restrung it onto beading filament, which didn't even use up all the beads.  (Bonus!  Matching earrings!)
I assume the original color of the Bakelite matched the green spacers much better.  Now that it has a yellowed patina, they don't look quite right.  I thought about restringing the piece with gold-colored spacer beads, but I didn't have enough gold jewelry findings, and I don't wear gold much anyway.


So that is my Bakelite story.  It's always exciting to discover that you already have some little treasures in your own collection.