Friday, August 31, 2012

Bakelite Beauties

While in Denver last weekend at the Denver Modernism Show I saw a vendor selling these really great plastic bangles.  I was set to buy a few but when I looked at the price I about had a heart attack!  "You want $35 for a plastic bracelet?!  Have you lost your mind?!"  I came to my senses and looked a little harder and noticed that the vendor was calling them Bakelite, which I had heard of before, but nothing more than the word.  I had absolutely no information to go along with it and I would have asked him, but he was so frazzled by all his customers that I didn't want to frazzle him further.  Dude couldn't get it together!

Well Mom and I went down to Pueblo today to poke around in the shops and there again was this Bakelite stuff, but this time it wasn't so expensive (but not so cheap as to raise a big fake red flag), but it raised more questions.  How do you tell if it is real or if it is just a run of the mill plastic dime store bracelet?  We didn't know, and Google wasn't helping much (I know, Google usually comes through for us!) so we let them be.
At another store I saw this pair of bracelets that I really liked, and thankfully the lady at the counter had time to answer a few questions.

She told use that if you rub real Bakelite hard enough with your finger, it will smell like burnt hair.  Well isn't that weird and wonderful all at the same time?!  I looked a little harder later on and found the same advice on different sites.  She said they were probably from the 30's or 40's.  Most of the information I can find describes Bakelite as one of the first plastics produced with synthetic materials and that it was great for depression era women because it was cheap (not anymore!).  I purchased these bracelets and I love them!  They will go with everything, especially my crazy patterned shift dress!

I really love this one : source

and holy crap this one: source

and this is so cool!!!!  Source

I could go on and on.  Do any of you have any Bakelite items?

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