Although I haven’t written about the hard-case handbags, you will definitely find posts here showing examples of vintage celluloid jewelry for sure. One reason I decided against photo examples was that it might cause additional confusion if someone were to assume that every similar piece was a particular material: For example, that because a brooch is a certain shade of green it is galalith rather than something else; or that other examples of cellulose nitrate can’t look entirely different. “Cellulostic” is a great word to describe cellulose acetate which is a thermoplastic frequently confused with – and misidentified as – celluloid. You definitely don't want to pay real jewelry prices for fakes, either. . Because of the interest people have in jewelry, it’s nice to know personally if the jewelry you have is vintage or not. It comes in virtually every hue, in both transparent and solid forms. THIS WAS VERY ENLIGHTENING, ESPECIALLY THE PART ABOUT THE PLASTICS ARE JUST THAT- PLASTIC-THEY ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL AND AFFORDABLE. Thanks so much for this information! There is a British company called Tatra Rotalac that was founded in 1939 as Rotalac Plastics but there’s no indication on their web site that they made jewelry. When attempting to identify costume jewelry, preferably under 10x loupe magnification the first golden rule: Inspect the jewelry all over for any signs of damage, missing stones, flat or discolored stones and chipped enamel. As a Newbie, I really get an education! Part 1: Vintage Jewelry Marks: Help for Dating Your Vintage Jewelry Part 2: Silver Jewelry Marks: Learn to Identify and Date Silver Jewelry Part 3: Vintage Jewelry Patents: Find and Use them to Date Vintage Jewelry. Old plastic is generally in the low market category and can range from $3 and up. If the jewelry is a solid color but in a vintage style, then it's probably an older piece. A cellulose acetate bracelet will give off a vinegary smell. - Bakelite is a castable, fire resistant plastic that was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1909. It also produces a ‘clunk’ sound when tapped but not quite as low a sound as does a phenolic; it can be very frustrating to tell the difference! Acrylic plastics have been marketed under the following names, among others: Acrylan, Acryloid, Cadco, Chrystalix, Fiberfil, Gala, Gering MMRW, Joda Acrylic, Lucite, Midlom M, Plexiglass, and Rhoplexes. Elements of 1950’s Costume Jewelry. This ensures that the piece is not made of ivory imitations such as plastic … Examples also include pressed or moulded glass, high quality milky colored pastes, that imitated moonstones and chalcedony and superb faux pearls. How to you test if something is bakelite jewelry or buttons? Thus, mold marks can often be present. Identifying Out In The Field . You can identify from the sound whether the piece you are buying is original or not. Moonglow Lucite comes in a variety of colors, but always has the distinctive shine. The change is chemical in nature, from exposure to ultraviolet light. Vintage Bakelite jewelry, by and large, will have vintage findings. Learn to identify and spot the differences between real and fake diamonds. then it may help to know the category of plastic but because there was considerable overlap – other than, perhaps, with the caseins – the plastic itself isn’t determinative. Any diamonds and semi-precious stones in the piece have a going market value. Lucite is still used today in the production of some jewelry. I show the hot water method & simichrome method. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. For this reason, sellers will often identify their jewelry as "D&E Juliana" Jewelry. , This made fascinating reading as I am often trying to date vintage items (often jewelry or small hard case handbags ) but I would have loved some pictorial examples. Genuine Bakelite … So if it’s ‘Pyralin’ it isn’t French; actually there was only one French manufacturer of note. You could try contacting them via their web site to inquire further though. Continue to hold the piece of jewelry in the hot water for 30 seconds. The value of gold or platinum is determined by the percentage content and weight, regardless of design. Sad to say, no matter how hard I try to make this black bracelet test as bakelite, it just refuses. The 1930s to the 1950s was the era of Bakelite jewelry. I personally try not to spend more than $10 to $15 on a piece because I know I can usually double or triple my money on it (or at least break even if I’ve bought a dud). No grain lines. Unfortunately, there’s no sure/safe way restore the original clarity of a yellowed vintage clear plastic. It was often used to imitate ivory (ivoroid form), tortoise shell, amber, coral, and mother of pearl (an iridescent laminated form often used for 1920s and 1930s dresser sets). - chantikjewels.wordpress.com - Vintage Bakelite Jewelry - *HOW TO IDENTIFY BAKELITE JEWELRY By Carly Wickell - *What is Bakelite? To find out if the plastic is in fact Lucite, a simple test is required. I’ve read that black bakelite often will not react to the standard tests. There were sooooo many things made out of the various plastics during the first half of the 20th century and the whole manufacturing rationale was that they could be made to visually resemble so many other materials. From Art Deco camphor glass to Bakelite, there’s just something about vintage jewelry that is appealing to women of all ages.And, that is especially true for rhinestones. It is safer to rely on other factors such as color (a celluloid would never be seen in neon green, screaming magenta, hot pink, etc) and weight (celluloid is noticeably lighter). In answer to your question about site updates, you can “follow” by email if you don’t have a WordPress blog site yourself. The following is an introduction to the plastics and an identification guide. ring, necklace, bracelet, etc. On the other hand, you might have received a box full of jewelry from an aunt or grandmother who passed and want to know which pieces are real. Vintage jewelry made of (or with) plastic falls into one of six groups: celluloid, casein, cellulose acetate, phenolics which include Bakelite, and acrylics which include Lucite. Confetti Lucite can be a stand-alone piece, such as a solid bangle bracelet, or it can be inlaid in a metal frame or part of a pin or brooch. “Moonglow lucite” is a distinctive form and very popular with some collectors while others think it just screams “tacky pearl-wannabe”. Thanks for an interesting and informative article! 1. Celluloid, another early variation of plastic, will smell like vinegar. On second glance, I knew I needed to get my glasses and a better lamp. If you fall in love with a brooch does it really matter whether it was made of celluloid, casein, or a phenolic? Take the piece of jewelry believed to be Lucite, and dip it into hot, but not boiling, water. It lacks the waxiness of celluloid and the caseins. However, if sufficient heat is applied to any part of it – and that could be as high a temperature as boiling water or as low as 140F from tap water or being left in the sun – it will soften again. In vintage times, it was used to make everything from plastic toys to jewelry. Take a quick look at it and notice if there are any seams in the plastic. In other words, given four late-1930s plain bangle bracelets made of differing materials – celluloid, cellulose acetate, a molded phenolic, and an acrylic – I would expect the one made of cellulose acetate to exhibit the greatest amount of vintage wear, and the ones made of phenolic and acrylic the least, simply by nature of what they are made of. Colette Stichler is a writer and public relations professional living in eastern Nebraska. You’ll notice that I’ve only capitalized two of those names and there’s a reason for that. Characteristics: As light or even lighter weight than celluloid, and even more brittle. I haven’t been through your website so I will have a look but thank you again . I love old celluloid but have passed up quite a few beautifully detailed and painted old pieces because the photos clearly showed a “diseased” or a damaged area (a new blog entry specifically on celluloid here in the near future). Dupont Nemours (Delaware) and so Dupont acquired the tradenames Pyralin and Ivory Pyralin and used it in their advertising. If the piece is vintage Bakelite, the accumulated patina will show up as a yellow stain on the cotton swab. There was some corporate production-swapping which only made the “is this lucite or something else?” consumer-market questions murkier; people were so used to calling things “lucite” even though technically they were a different kind of acrylic material. I hope you find this compilation of tips useful in sorting the assorted and identifying the unlabeled. Trademarked names for “celluloid” include Amerith, Celluloid, Cinelin, Duralin, Fabrikoid, Fiberloid, Herculoid, Isinglass, Keratol, Nitrol and Nitron, Nixonoid and Nixon CN, Pyralin, Pyroxylin, and Textiloid. At first glance through the wrinkled, dusty plastic bag, they appeared to be quite similar, despite their varied sizes. I will have to read this several times to absorb all of the intricaies and nuances. It could be opaque, translucent or transparent. I love Bakelite and many of the other varieties--for jewelry and home objects. These tell-tale features can help you spot jewelry from this time period: Large, Chunky Pieces: Most of the costume jewelry from that time period was not super dainty. Lumarith, Tenite and Plastacele were the ‘big three’ wellknown names in cellulose acetate manufacturing. The existence of evenly spaced parallel grain lines, especially in the faux-ivory jewelry pieces, are a giveway that it is celluloid. Indian beaded jewelry is often mistaken for Native American. It could also be made transparent and also with chips of color on white. The cast phenolics appeared around 1930 but pretty much disappeared by 1950. Vintage jewelry made of (or with) plastic falls into one of six groups: celluloid, casein, cellulose acetate, phenolics which include Bakelite, and acrylics which include Lucite. Other vintage plastics have a distinct odor: Bakelite will smell highly acidic. Because of this, it can be difficult to obtain authentic carvings, jewelry or other ivory pieces. Colorful versions of jewelry are often mistaken for catalin plastic which could also be made in many colors and textures. But you’re right: beads and jewelry etc from the 1980s have a slightly different chemical makeup from the “old” stuff… but probably only a chemist would care about the difference between MMA (methyl methacrylate, which was the original composition) and PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), LOL. There’s a perplexing plethora of vintage plastic jewelry for sale that is described as being “celluloid”, “bakelite”, “lucite”, etc  – but what exactly IS it? A set of fake pearls will feel quite light. It can occur in pretty much any color imaginable, from solid and dense to translucent or transparent. But without getting too much into the weeds, the material itself was sold in both the UK and the USA during the 30s and 40s under a partnership agreement between Dupont in the USA and Imperial Chemical Industries in Britain; in the UK it was called Perspex and in the USA it was Lucite. Can be pretty much any color, including transparent or black (though sometimes black paint was applied). The magic of vintage costume jewelry transcends the decade, despite whichever fashion trends are happening at the moment. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is the clasp. My willingness to pay X amount of dollars for any of them would be influenced at least in part by my expectation of what condition it should be in, given its material + age. Thank you for all the awesome information! Please see the footer for copyright information regarding all images appearing on this blog. and does it really matter? A Jewelry Materials Identification Guide” says “Black Bakelite leaves a black streak when rubbed on white unglazed tile.” Oddly, I have not seen this particular test mentioned anywhere else but have never got my hands on a piece of black bakelite to experiment with, LOL. Glass beads are cooler to the touch than plastic ones. Sometimes people are confused by sellers who think that the “DuBarry” style dresser set, of Ivory Pyralin, was made in France but it was a Dupont item. If the jewelry is a solid color but in a vintage style, then it's probably an older piece. If the piece was purchased in a big box store or a chain store selling contemporary jewelry, it is likely a contemporary piece of Lucite and not vintage. Vintage or handmade costume jewelry pieces are not worthless, but when you want precious metals and stones, you don't want to be duped into thinking you have the real thing. That name doesn’t appear in my reference books’ sections listing known trade names for vintage celluloid, so it’s probably not that. The setting looks vintage. Other popular materials frequently used in vintage jewelry include glass, shell, wood, Lucite, celluloid, enamel, Bakelite, imitation pearls and stones, tiger’s eye, and opals. Every piece of Tiffany & Co. jewelry we receive at The RealReal is double-verified,” Krakowski explains. Actually it does but not for the reasons you might think. Moonglow Lucite comes in a variety of colors, but always has the distinctive shine. To make things even more confusing, even Plexiglas belongs to that MMA/PMMA family but sellers rarely describes something as being “plexiglas jewelry”. Hi, can anyone give me some information about a type of plastic from the 1930s called “radolac” or “rotalac?” Thanks. Identify the material: is it fine or costume? Sometimes the type of finding used can be a clue as to a piece’s age. Many pieces of vintage Lucite were created in this distinct, easily identifiable style. Started with jewellery when I was about 11 and got my first Lucite purse when I was in my late teens! Hold the pearls in your hand. A veritable cornucopia of fascinating plastics to choose from – obviously, Mr. McGuire (in “The Graduate”) was right, even though clearly there is more than “one word” for them! It’s important to know different ways to identify Bakelite jewelry, so you don’t find yourself unintentionally purchasing lucite or more common plastic pieces. These pieces can sometimes be as valuable as pieces of fine jewelry. Tap two pieces of jewelry together One of the easiest and best ways to identify Bakelite jewelry is to tap two pieces together. Many thanks, Tracie! without any specialized knowledge. Thanks again! One of the most informative articles I’ve run across so far. Depending on the type of vintage jewelry, you may not be able to hold the pearls alone. Bakelite makes a distinct sound when clicked together, and women wore the bangles stacked one on the other. Here are some clues that a rhinestone piece is not a modern take on this classic style: It's not plastic. Celluloid jewelry made in Japan during the first half of the 20th century often included wonderfully delicate hand painting as well as intricate designs (our next blog article will focus on Japanese celluloid brooches). To identify Juliana jewelry, you need to look for some specific traits. Ditto with the plastic pearls found on quite a few multi-strand necklaces made in Hong Kong, Japan and Germany during the 1950s – most people either love them or hate them. For instance, using the term ‘lucite’ to describe beads from the 1980s when I’d believed lucite to be from early 20th century rather than later. I have started collecting again a bit. Quick elimination test. The jewelry was made popular by entertainers such as Carmen Miranda. It has an extremely smooth surface and is room temperature to the touch (glass will be cold or at least cool to the touch). If the piece of jewelry in question was purchased at an antique shop, consider talking to the dealer who bought it originally. Native American jewelry only has two types of silver clasp or sinew. On the other hand, an item made from a thermoset formula also begins life as a “plastic” (soft/malleable) substance that is then shaped and subsequently hardened as it cooled. Early unsigned necklaces tend to have box clasps which were quite elaborate and decorated with pearls, beads or rhinestones, and either round, or oblong if the piece had multiple strands. Just click the Follow button (which will be in the righthand sidebar if you’re viewing on a computer, or down near the bottom of the screen if you’re on a mobile device) and a sign-up box will appear. Tradenames specific to imitation ivory often included that word, such as Ivorine, French Ivory, Ivorie Parisienne, celluloid ivory and vegetable ivory. . Casein was invented in the 1890s and was made from milk protein. There are a few exceptions, especially when it comes to an early plastic called celluloid. Swirl effects were common. A Web Experience brought to you by LEAFtv, Steptoes Dog: Identifying Vintage & Antique Plastics, The Difference Between Lucite, Plastic & Bakelite, Difference Between Black Onyx & Black Sapphire. ( Log Out /  A couple of the designs are also found in my book Juliana Jewelry - The Last Generation on page 285. As long as the back/bottom of the tile piece is white, you’re good to go. Study the style of the jewelry. Does NOT  have mold marks because it could not be molded; thus it can be either solid or laminated but never hollow. 1725 by Pieter Tillemans, Flemish, active in Great Britain 1684-1734, oil on canvas. Tip: Vintage costume jewelry that has a lot of brilliant stones all set with prongs can be very valuable. Instead, each piece had to be hand-cast and then carved, buffed and polished. The somewhat unpurified formula used in this type of phenolic prevents delicate pastel and other light tints from being produced. I find using the Dollar Tree Chrome Polish works to test bakelite, catalin. amazing Compared to back in the 80s when I first started collecting. The best way to avoid the new pieces is with a careful examination and to know the differences which exist between reproductions and the originals. http://www.etsy.com/shop/YeuxDeux/, Thanks so much for the kind words, Ilene! The noted German jewelry maker Jakob Bengel particularly favored the combination of Galalith and chrome for his “machine age” 1930s designs. Today I am continuing my discussion with costume jewelry expert and author Jacqueline Rehmann, digging deeper into identifying the vintage plastics used in costume jewelry. When you type in “vintage costume jewelry” in the search box and select completed listings, you will quickly learn what’s selling and what’s not and for what price. By the way, genuine (not faux) jet can also be tested on white unglazed tile but that leaves a brown streak — not black. Not widely recognized in its own right, a urea-based plastic under the name Beetle was introduced in 1929 by American Cyanamid. In vintage times, it was used to make everything from plastic toys to jewelry. Also, the presence of paint or any type of glaze on the surface of the celluloid will act as a barrier to the generation of the camphor smell although not – unfortunately – to deformation by temperature. The formula itself was developed in the very early 1900s and can be subdivided into “molded” and “cast” categories. What do you think this is? It is generally considered to be a thermoset plastic. An especially interesting cast phenolic was Bios Glace, made by Lisner in 1935, whereby a clear cast phenolic would be poured over a wood piece placed into a mold. None of the phenolics could be made in plain white. Dunk a small portion of the bracelet in the water for a couple of seconds. by Christie Romero With plenty of reproductions on the market, it's wise to learn various methods to identify Bakelite rather than finding out afterward that you have made a costly mistake. Unlike celluloid, casein plastics are not flammable. It can be identified by its age. If it is made of many small pieces set in metal, it could be molded Lucite and, if so, it's likely a vintage piece. We do not sell antique jewelry, which is defined as at least 100 years old. If it is warm, this is a sign that is might be plastic. All text within this blog is ©The Chatsworth Lady except as otherwise noted, such as attributed quotes. Because vintage plastics are so “tricky”, it almost always takes more than a photo to hone in on what type it is. Conversely, modern costume jewelry manufacturers only plate costume jewelry one time, so it is more likely to tarnish quickly and cause irritation to sensitive skin. This is the original and very flammable material invented by the Hyatt Brothers in New Jersey in 1868. - Bakelite is a castable, fire resistant plastic that was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1909. Many times antique dealers can identify vintage plastics by sight alone. If the piece has a clear outer color and an embedded object in the center--a flower, a seashell, or a gem, for example--then it's a vintage piece known as an "embedded" Lucite item. Tradenames for jewelry applications include Arodures, Bakelite Urea, Beckamine, Beetle, Catalin Urea, Daka-Ware, Gala, Insurok, Lamicoid, Lauxite, Plaskon urea, Plyamine, Rhonite, and Richelain. Lucite and Plexiglass are far and away the most recognizable and both have evolved into being lower-case ‘household names’ although lucite is more commonly used in reference to jewelry and plexiglass when referring to larger articles. The best and safest way to test and identify vintage plastics is with simichrome polish which you can purchase at most hardware stores. However, Simichrome can now be hard to find in many areas of the country and the other testing standby (Formula 409 cleaner) no longer works after Dow changed its chemical formula years ago. For hundreds of years, naturally occurring quartz crystals found along the Rhine River in Europe were coveted for jewelry but were eventually depleted from the area. Polished Bakelite will leave a yellow residue on the cloth regardless of what color the Bakelite is. Aug 29, 2017 - Explore Jewel Eureka's board "Identifying Stones in Vintage Costume Jewelry" on Pinterest. Findings on genuine vintage Bakelite jewelry are generally attached with mechanical fasteners such as tiny screws, pins and nails. Short of taking a course in chemistry to understand plastics, collectors should remember that most vintage plastic jewelry was made from one of two basic categories of plastics including (1) thermoset and (2) thermoplastic. However, its use in larger articles was limited because it cannot be molded; it must be cut or carved, thus its use was effectively restricted to small things like jewelry and buttons rather than, say, boxes, brushes, combs, etc. Many of the styles you've probably heard about -- Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Retro -- originated during the early 1900s and are considered antique. http://cancerbus.com – WordPress blog If you have a piece of ivory in your house -- such as a piece of jewelry or a statue -- you might want to identify its authenticity. Testing: Application of hot water will produce a sour-milk or wet-wool smell. As Lillian Baker aptly put it in her introduction to ‘Plastic Jewelry of the Twentieth Century’, “unless a piece of jewelry is marked “Bakelite” or “Catalin” or “Celluloid” (or any trademarks cited in the article which is printed in Appendix A), it is virtually impossible to pinpoint the actual product used for jewelry collected today.”  (italics mine). But at least I Got really good money, but it all went to pay bills. See more ideas about bakelite jewelry, bakelite, vintage bakelite. Costume Jewelry Designers Part 1 is listed in alphabetical order and the subject is divided into Two Parts. Non-Plastic Materials. If … "Granite" Lucite has the look of granite but in a wide variety of colors and color combinations. Identifying antique plastic: Lucite has a slick feel and is fairly light in weight. On second glance, I knew I needed to get my glasses and a better lamp. This last property led to its widespread use on warplane windows and canopies instead of the much heavier glass. , I’ve been searching and haven’t found a good answer; do you know is there a way to make a vintage lucite/plastic clear bangle bracelet that has some yellowing clear again? The collectible Lea Stein jewelry pieces were made of celluloid (cellulose nitrate) at first but then shifted to using cellulose acetate as the base material, resulting in quite a few pieces being offered as “celluloid” when in fact they are this “cellulostic” instead. Real diamonds have unique characteristics: • Breathe on a clean diamond. In practical real-world terms the type of plastic is most useful in order to determine its care (including identification or testing methods) and for what I call “expectation of value”. Solving the intriguing riddle posed by the marks stamped onto a piece of jewelry involves the use of a variety of skills and a wealth of knowledge. Check to see if the piece is signed or not signed. It was originally used for industrial purposes, until jewelry makers found that its light weight made Bakelite a perfect choice… Can take on any color or combination thereof, or be transparent. Look for statement pieces that are assembled with chunky plastic links and are in … I wish there were some photos and examples though. Check if it has a "glow." However, the rarest buttons were not mass-produced plastics like celluloid or Bakelite (another early plastic that is popular in vintage jewelry). . You might also simply like (or hate) the look or feel of specific kinds of plastic. As far as it being Pyralin, that was just one of the trade-names of the late 1880s/early 1900s; it was first coined by the Arlington Co. of Boston and they actually stamped the word Pyralin (or Ivory Pyralin) on many of their items. ‘Findings’ simply refers to the materials used (usually metal) to construct the piece and includes items such as jump rings, clasps, pin backs, hooks, and the like. A designer’s dream material, it was lightweight; could be produced in a huge range of opaque, translucent and transparent forms; could be molded, carved, layered, and painted; and was remarkably easy to curve. Thank you – how do I know when your next materials will be here? https://www.etsy.com/listing/525325946/antique-ivory-pyralin-belt-french-ivory, How unusual! Is Bakelite Mary, and black frequently confused with – and misidentified as –.! Of design on a hard surface and it was very ENLIGHTENING, especially in the and... A vinegary smell and locked into place 1929 by American Cyanamid of styles and every color some... 2017 - Explore Jewel Eureka 's board `` identifying stones in the production some... Real or fake is to detect the weight is commonly known as the of... And craze as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light sign that is malleable or soft for.... Just screams “ tacky pearl-wannabe ” or jewelry supplies, it is much harder to the. Light or even plastic named rhinestones bought it originally is a thermoplastic is a castable, fire plastic... Back tells the story of plastic informative articles I ’ ve read that black Bakelite often not. Page 285 s start with the Internet there is so much for sharing a wealth valuable. Thermoplastic frequently confused with other types of vintage Lucite were created in this distinct, identifiable. Do I know when your next materials will be here is being or! ( no, really other light tints from being produced piece ’ s yellowed, that imitated moonstones and and. 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