Bakelite jewelry is among the top vintage plastic pieces, and owning one of them is like winning the lottery because of its value and unique details each piece has.
It will be disappointing to buy a Bakelite item and realize it is fake. This post will provide several ways to identify a piece of authentic Bakelite jewelry and how much it costs.
This way, you will be able to know what piece of Bakelite jewelry to go for, without any worry.
Materials used in Bakelite jewelry
The primary material used to make the Bakelite jewelry was the first synthetic plastic, also known as the Bakelite. This material was a combination of phenol and formaldehyde plastics, which were developed by a chemist known as Leo Baekeland, hence the name Bakelite.
The material was made by mixing it with fillers, then heated and pressure molded. The result was a durable dark-colored material that was easily molded and could retain its shape even if heated or subjected to various solvent chemicals.
Another material that was used in making Bakelite jewelry was the Catalin. The manufacturers used this type of material for making the jewelry as it did not contain any fillers, was transparent, and was produced in bright colors.
Unfortunately, this material was only made until the end of World War II, when it became too expensive, as every piece had to be individually cast and polished.
Pros and cons of these materials
Although these two materials became the most popular plastics to use, they had pros and cons. Below are the pros and cons of Bakelite:
- It is easily molded into any imaginable shape, making it perfect to use.
- Able to retain its shape after being molded gives the manufacturers an added advantage.
- Resistant to heat, electricity, and solvents.
- Too hard and lacks flexibility for other uses.
- Bakelites could only produce varieties in a minimal range of colors.
Pros and cons of Catalin material
- Durable as jewelry pieces lasted for long
- Heat resistant making it hard to be easily destroyed.
- Aesthetic as it was more pleasing to the eye as a result of additional colors.
- Too expensive to make as each piece needed to be cast and polished separately.
The price range of Bakelite jewelry
Different Bakelite jewelry varies in price, as there is a wide range of value when it comes to them. Although most of their pieces are expensive because of their rarity and desirability, one can own an item for as low as $100.
A multi-colored Bakelite bracelet can be sold at $2,700 because of its rarity, vintage charm, and condition. This piece also features several different colors of Bakelite in a single piece and has a distinctive Art Deco style.
Another Bakelite piece of jewelry is the significant strands of red Bakelite beads, which can fetch $4,000 or more. This is because the beads are the most valuable items to collectors due to their cherry amber color, which is fairly rare, and the simple design is very wearable.
Simple designs that don’t feature rare Bakelite colors or styles are not worth quite as much. An example is an apple juice-colored Bakelite bead necklace, which can be bought for about $100.
What factors decided the value of the Bakelite jewelry?
Factors Affecting Bakelite Values
Several factors can affect the value of vintage jewelry, especially a piece of Bakelite jewelry. Some of the top factors affecting them are discussed below:
- Condition- A good Bakelite jewelry that is still in good condition has a high value, as it is sturdy and holds up well to time. However, scratches, cracks, chips, and scurfs will negatively affect its value, as its origin will have been tampered with. Missing hardware is also a problem, so check for an original pin, earring back, and necklace clasps.
- Wearability- certain items are more accessible to wear today than others. For instance, Bakelite shoe clips, which went on the front of pumps to dress them up, are not as easy for today’s collectors to wear. However, a strand of beads or a lovely bracelet works as well today as it did 80 years ago.
- Design- Some of the most valuable pieces are carved, painted, or laminated. Examples of expensive designs include multi-colored items featuring more than one shade of Bakelite.
- Colour rarity-some rare Bakelite colors can be precious. Since the production of Bakelite jewelry limited its color range, darker and more beautiful pieces are of high value.
- Vintage charm-Bakelite jewelry with the top vintage charm such as bird-shaped pins is more valuable, as they make such a lovely, unique style statement, placing them in high demand. Polka dot patterns are also in high demand, as most collectors prefer them.
Is Bakelite jewelry worth money? Why?
Yes, Bakelite jewelry is worth a lot of money. This is because each item has a piece of history.
Genuine pieces such as necklaces and bracelets sell for $100 or more, while more elaborate designs with multiple colors can be sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Should you invest in Bakelite jewelry?
We think you should invest in Bakelite jewelry because such items cost a fortune as years goes by. This will guarantee you a large profit when you resell them, as they appreciate their value with time.
Another reason you should invest in Bakelite jewelry is that these pieces are distinct and hard to place your hands on genuine ones.
Bakelite jewelry is in high demand due to its original features. To ensure you end up with a vintage piece of jewelry when purchasing, ensure that you do extensive research on what they look like and their different details.
You can also ask the seller to verify that the piece is genuine Bakelite. Its value depends on the piece, and the demand for specific collectibles is an ever-changing thing.
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Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.