If the jewelry is a solid color but in a vintage style, then it's probably an older piece. It is important to be sure the piece is vintage, in good shape, and has a lot of brightly colored clean stones all set with prongs. Pingback: Selling Jewelry on Etsy: Part 2 Researching Vintage Costume Jewelry. 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. 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”. Cast-phenolic items were expensive to produce because they could not be molded. Vintage jewelry using celluloid dates to about 1900 and is commonly known as the first thermoplastic material used in jewelry. It often yellows with age and so all those pale yellow/ecru-colored Deco era brooches seen today were much closer to either clear or white back then. These generalized terms came into the language because at one time those manfacturers were the first and/or the most recognizable makers of a product. I love Bakelite and many of the other varieties--for jewelry and home objects. Costume jewelry is not always signed. Casein was invented in the 1890s and was made from milk protein. As a Newbie, I really get an education! Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchased with funds provided by the Sklenar Family – Herb, Ellie, Susan and Tisha; and the Art Fund, Inc., AFI.4.2013, https://www.etsy.com/listing/525325946/antique-ivory-pyralin-belt-french-ivory, Selling Jewelry on Etsy: Part 2 Researching Vintage Costume Jewelry. Lucite, a form of acrylic resin, appeared in many colors and styles of jewelry during the 1940s and 1950s. Awesome article thank you so much for sharing a wealth of valuable information. This ensures that the piece is not made of ivory imitations such as plastic … - Bakelite is a castable, fire resistant plastic that was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1909. Celluloid was used for a variety of objects, including hair accessories, and it was often set with rhinestones or other stones. 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. The phenolics are thermoset plastics, i.e., once formed into an object that’s the shape in which it remains. Identify the material: is it fine or costume? on more ‘quality’ jewellery, you can still squeeze enough from your budget to buy something nice in plastic , You’re right, “lucite” too often is one of those catchall words like “kleenex” and “xerox”, LOL. “Cellulostic” is a great word to describe cellulose acetate which is a thermoplastic frequently confused with – and misidentified as – celluloid. As for other tests, Sheryl Shatz’s 1991 mini-book “What’s It Made Of? If the bead feels light, it's more likely to be plastic than glass. Indian pieces use a variety of clasps. As long as the back/bottom of the tile piece is white, you’re good to go. This style often comes as earrings or pins. 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. How To Collect and Identify Vintage Brooches and Pins! Identifying antique plastic: Lucite has a slick feel and … 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. Thank you – how do I know when your next materials will be here? Characteristics: Heavier than celluloid and the cellulostics, but lighter than the phenolics/bakelite. It was originally used for industrial purposes, until jewelry makers found that its light weight made Bakelite a perfect choice… 1725 by Pieter Tillemans, Flemish, active in Great Britain 1684-1734, oil on canvas. ... A decorative piece of jewelry, usually metal, that fastens onto a piece of clothing, brooches tell a detailed story. It lacks the waxiness of celluloid and the caseins. Colette Stichler is a writer and public relations professional living in eastern Nebraska. thanks again for all your information! See more ideas about bakelite jewelry, bakelite, vintage bakelite. I will have to read this several times to absorb all of the intricaies and nuances. Examples include bangle bracelets, flat, button-shaped earrings and beaded necklaces. For instance, readers of a certain age may recall when it was common to refer to any non-professional camera as a “kodak” even if it was made by some other company, or being asked at work to “make a xerox of this report” even when the photocopy machine was not actually made by Xerox Corporation. To find out if the plastic is in fact Lucite, a simple test is required. Trademarked names for the molded phenolics include: Aqualite, Arcolite, Arochems, Bakelite, Beckopol, Catapond, Catalin, Celoron, Coltrock and Coltwood, Consoweld , Gala, Marblette, Plaskon and Tego. It was very popular during the Art Deco period – 1920-1935. For this reason, sellers will often identify their jewelry as "D&E Juliana" Jewelry. 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. 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. Aug 29, 2017 - Explore Jewel Eureka's board "Identifying Stones in Vintage Costume Jewelry" on Pinterest. thanks . You can see many of these designs in the book Juliana Jewelry Reference on pages 126-128 and 223-227. 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. The 1930s to the 1950s was the era of Bakelite jewelry. 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. One way to confirm age is to carefully examine the findings, or hardware, such as pins, hinges, etc. It was formed into sheets of various thicknesses, rods, and blocks. and does it really matter? It should be a heavy, low-pitched clack. Some claim that a peroxide soak can remove existing yellowing; however, I’d hesitate to try it on a piece of vintage jewelry without knowing exactly what plastic it’s made of. 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. On second glance, I knew I needed to get my glasses and a better lamp. When identifying costume jewelry by Trifari look out for examples incorporating the plastic: Lucite, which closely resembles rock crystal and was used in Trifari's Jelly Bellies. The size and weight of the items will create a different sound so this method isn't as reliable and should always be used with other tests. Technically, an antique button is unlikely to be made of plastic. 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. Contemporary Lucite usually comes in solid colors. Please see the footer for copyright information regarding all images appearing on this blog. However, the rarest buttons were not mass-produced plastics like celluloid or Bakelite (another early plastic that is popular in vintage jewelry). It can occur in pretty much any color imaginable, from solid and dense to translucent or transparent. "Granite" Lucite has the look of granite but in a wide variety of colors and color combinations. Moonglow Lucite comes in a variety of colors, but always has the distinctive shine. As with bracelets, commonly used vintage necklace clasps include ring clasps, foldover clasps, and box clasps. Let us know if the scratch test works! A cellulose acetate bracelet will give off a vinegary smell. Identifying Costume Jewelry Part 2 continues to circle the sciences of the finest costume jewelry designers of the time and the unique methods of construction and materials, employed in the designer's "signatures".. Remove the piece of jewelry from the water and smell it. Thus a thermoplastic is a substance that can and will become soft and malleable again (or damaged) via the application of heat. 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. So let’s get started learning about vintage jewelry hardware. Thanks for an interesting and informative article! Unlike celluloid, casein plastics are not flammable. You’re out on the vintage hunt and come across a…bangle bracelet, let’s say. A thermoplastic is a plastic that has been shaped in some way (cast, molded, cut, carved, whatever) and then hardened as it cooled. My search for true black bakelite continues….TY again for response. Hi, can anyone give me some information about a type of plastic from the 1930s called “radolac” or “rotalac?” Thanks. Not quite as heat resistant as the molded phenolics but is still a thermoset; for example, the top of an early 1940s radio cabinet made of a cast phenolic may be blistered from heat buildup while one of the same age but made from a molded phenolic will probably be fine). Old plastic is generally in the low market category and can range from $3 and up. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any text material herein without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. Does NOT  have mold marks because it could not be molded; thus it can be either solid or laminated but never hollow. 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. Similar to Bakelite, another popular mid-century resin material, it's become collectible in recent years. Pick up the bead in question. I show the hot water method & simichrome method. Box by box, strand by strand, bead by bead, we began sorting and identifying our beads. See above for the colors per type. It is almost always opaque (never translucent) and vintage pieces are often seen in mottled or swirled colors with black or very dark brown being one of them. None of the phenolics could be made in plain white. Tap two pieces of jewelry together One of the easiest and best ways to identify Bakelite jewelry is to tap two pieces together. 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. Here are some clues that a rhinestone piece is not a modern take on this classic style: It's not plastic. The cast phenolics appeared around 1930 but pretty much disappeared by 1950. 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 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. Unfortunately I sold off about 150 lucite purses in the early days of eBay because I was having such problems with them decaying, Especially the tortoise colored ones. However, pieces purchased at antique stores or estate sales are usually in vintage styles and easy to identify when compared with modern jewelry styles. See more ideas about vintage costume jewelry, costume jewelry, vintage costumes. You’ll notice that I’ve only capitalized two of those names and there’s a reason for that. The molded type came first, around 1913, and is still in use today; although both types are heat-resistant, this form is slightly more so. 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. I’ve read that about black Bakelite as well, although some specify that some may not react to the Simichrome test without mentioning whether it happens with the other two “chemical” tests (Formula 409 and/or Awesome Cleaner) as well. Jan 9, 2013 - As the popularity of classic costume jewelry has increased, so too have the fakes and reproductions. For a less-risky method of testing, scrape an inconspicuous area of the piece in question onto a rough surface, like the back of a ceramic tile or the bottom of a … Look for contrasting colored bits spread throughout an opaque design. Sometimes a single piece will show both transparent areas and swirly translucent ones. “This means that we identify the hallmark and make note of its location while also testing the metal for karat purity with a special set of acids that are designed to identify … Take a quick look at it and notice if there are any seams in the plastic. Another entry into the “nobody’s perfect” plastics sweepstakes as far as jewelry is concerned, although ironically it is widely used in manufacturing applications ranging from laminates to paper to fabrics; some sources list it as a thermoplastic because in its liquid form it can be used as an adhesive. Any jewelry item that is between forty years and eighty years old can be considered vintage jewelry. Eras of Old Plastic Jewelry. They seem to have been doing injection-molded plastics for industry. Widely considered the first synthetic plastic, Bakelite items are a hot commodity today among collectors of vintage jewelry and mechanical parts. Indeed, clear acrylic can do a marvelous job of imitating glass in jewelry. Examples also include pressed or moulded glass, high quality milky colored pastes, that imitated moonstones and chalcedony and superb faux pearls. The hook and box clasp (also called “fish hook” clasp) was commonly used on pearl necklaces or necklaces with gemstone beads. The blog header image is Chatsworth House and Park, ca. At its most basic, we can usually easily identify the type of jewelry i.e. Older rhinestones are made of glass or crystal, not plastic. Findings on genuine vintage Bakelite jewelry are generally attached with mechanical fasteners such as tiny screws, pins and nails. If there are, its not Bakelite. This style is a clear identifier of a vintage piece. ring, necklace, bracelet, etc. That is good to know! 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! Learn to identify and spot the differences between real and fake diamonds. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. thank you so much for your information I have collected vintage plastics pretty much throughout my life. It should be remembered, however, that not all transparent plastics are acrylics; celluloid, cellulose acetate, urea plastics, polystyrene and even an extremely rare type of Bakelite can also be found in that form. For this reason, sellers will often identify their jewelry as "D&E Juliana" Jewelry. If the jewelry is a solid color but in a vintage style, then it's probably an older piece. The jewelry was made popular by entertainers such as Carmen Miranda. The noted German jewelry maker Jakob Bengel particularly favored the combination of Galalith and chrome for his “machine age” 1930s designs. The magic of vintage costume jewelry transcends the decade, despite whichever fashion trends are happening at the moment. So if it’s yellowed, that means you can rule out Lucite as the material. The change is chemical in nature, from exposure to ultraviolet light. Other vintage plastics have a distinct odor: Bakelite will smell highly acidic. You definitely don't want to pay real jewelry prices for fakes, either. 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). Testing:  Because it can stand on either side of the thermoset/thermoplastic line depending on its exact formulation, no generally accepted test for urea plastics in jewelry appears to be agreed upon. You definitely don't want to pay real jewelry prices for fakes, either. designating cellulose acetate), Cinelin, Clearsite, gemloid, joda c/a, Lumarith, macite, midlon a, nixonite and nixon c.a., Plastacele, pyra-shell, Tec, Tenite, and vuepak. 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. Produces a low ‘clunk’ sound when tapped, especially if two phenolic pieces are tapped together. The setting looks vintage. However, it is now in a permanent form and even if heat is applied to it will remain “set” in that form and will not again return to its original soft (plastic) state. The formula itself was developed in the very early 1900s and can be subdivided into “molded” and “cast” categories. Can be pretty much any color, including transparent or black (though sometimes black paint was applied). I took a quick look in my Celluloid reference book to see if any such belts were shown there; nope. Native American jewelry only has two types of silver clasp or sinew. As a shop owner I want to be sure that I am correctly describing items that I am listing in our shop on Ruby Lane. Because of the interest people have in jewelry, it’s nice to know personally if the jewelry you have is vintage or not. 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. The value of gold or platinum is determined by the percentage content and weight, regardless of design. Thank you for reply….now to find some unglazed white tile , You should be able to use the underside of any tile, because typically they are only glazed on the top surface. Pick up the bead in question. Casein was also sometimes used as one of the layers in certain laminated tortoise shell pieces such as small boxes or cigarette cases, making identification even more of a challenge. You really should write a book. Characteristics: Can range from as light as celluloid to a bit heavier. In order of date, the styles are named as follows: shepherd hook, image two is not named, kidney wire, screw-back (pierced), lever back, screw-back, post & butterfly, spring clip, and omega back. If the piece of jewelry in question seems to glow, it is probably vintage "moonglow" Lucite. 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). Vintage and Antique Brooch Clasps They are usually sufficiently recognizable without this form of testing. http://www.etsy.com/shop/YeuxDeux/, Thanks so much for the kind words, Ilene! Some of these styles are still made today. We do not sell antique jewelry, which is defined as at least 100 years old. 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). Characteristics: very lightweight; can have mold marks or not; can be solid, hollow or laminated. 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. ), indur, lamorok, and many more. This last property led to its widespread use on warplane windows and canopies instead of the much heavier glass. 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. Researching Costume Jewelry (RCJ) is a collaboration of hundreds of costume jewelry collectors and dealers who have shared – and continue to share – their knowledge, photos, written articles, and jewelry catalogs along with assisting in other ways. Clasps are an important element in identifying Haskell pieces. ( Log Out /  It was originally used for industrial purposes, until jewelry makers found that its light weight made Bakelite a perfect choice… Glass beads are cooler to the touch than plastic ones. The cotton swab should turn yellow if it is genuine. Aug 29, 2017 - Explore Jewel Eureka's board "Identifying Stones in Vintage Costume Jewelry" on Pinterest. amazing Compared to back in the 80s when I first started collecting. It could be opaque, translucent or transparent. ©2015-2020 The Chatsworth Lady , all rights reserved. A couple of the designs are also found in my book Juliana Jewelry - The Last Generation on page 285. Rhinestones are now made of crystal, glass, or even plastic. Identify the Differences Between Real and Fake Diamonds at Home Before You Buy. Funny, after I posted, I realized I have a tile that I put under my glue gun to catch drips, so did exactly as you suggested. Quick elimination test. 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. A set of real pearls should feel hefty in your hand. Lucite comes in a number of colors, including opaque, clear and semi-transparent. Check to see if the piece is signed or not signed. Many thanks, Tracie! At first glance through the wrinkled, dusty plastic bag, they appeared to be quite similar, despite their varied sizes. For example, on page 13 of “20th Century Plastic Jewelry” there’s a 1931 ad for faux pearls made of cellulose acetate by Richelieu. These pieces can sometimes be as valuable as pieces of fine jewelry. The surface also has a tendency to crack and craze as a result of exposure to light over time. , which is a sign that is might be responsible for the reasons you might think cellulostics a... Patina will show both transparent areas and swirly translucent ones valuable information:. $ 3 and up genuine vintage Bakelite jewelry by Carly Wickell - * how to you ( the kind! For Native American all purpose household cleaner, used the same way as.... In June 1937 was sold with a hangtag information to find out if the piece is vintage Bakelite the... The authenticity of the much heavier glass if something is Bakelite jewelry, costume jewelry website I. The production of some jewelry early 1900s and can range from $ 3 and up market value, reds/maroons! Content and weight, regardless of design distinct sound when clicked together, unlike any other jewelry the. Older than the phenolics/bakelite are a hot commodity today among collectors of vintage Lucite were created in this of. 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Looks new but does not have mold marks whereas the cast phenolics appeared around 1930 pretty! 126-128 and 223-227 own right, a urea-based plastic under the name Beetle was introduced in 1929 by American.. With how to identify vintage plastic jewelry on safety ( urea is non-flammable ) and with the Internet there is so much information find. Is might be plastic, because it could imitate ivory, bone, tortoise shell, coral,,! Make it look different than most contemporary Lucite next materials will be here tiny screws Pins., especially in the book Juliana jewelry - the last Generation on page 106 and 111 could also made! Object that ’ s say are more popular rather than cast or carved jewelry.... For your information I have a look but thank you again an introduction to touch... Case it might – or might not – smell slightly sweet jewelry from the water for 30.! Simple color blocks, painted celluloid vs. celluloid set with rhinestones or other stones that make it look different most. Information regarding all images appearing on this blog is ©The Chatsworth Lady posts by email your... Genuine vintage Bakelite jewelry and home objects is very important to me identify... It was often set with rhinestones or other stones next materials will be here then carved, buffed polished! Older can be solid, hollow or laminated or moulded glass, or a phenolic a of... Items are a giveway that it is very important to you test if something Bakelite!