Bakelite is a plastic-like composition that was very popular for use in industry in the early 20th Century. It was used to make everything from radios to clocks!
Then when jewelers realized its versatility, Bakelite jewelry caught on like wildfire. If you are going for the classic 30s look, you need Bakelite jewelry in your wardrobe. There’s nothing quite like it!
Jewelry made of Bakelite is often made in bright colors, and almost any shape. They have that awesome art deco look to them that make them very valuable. People are especially crazy about the brown colored Bakelite beads.
Imagine finding a box of these pins in your grandma’s attic! That shoe box would probably be worth more than six figures!
You commonly see auctions for Bakelite jewelry go for over $300-400 per piece. But the problem with that is, how do you know that it is real? With the value being so high, you know there are people out there making counterfeit Bakelite jewelry and you don’t want to fall victim to a scam!
Most people recommend soaking the Bakelite in warm water. The Bakelite will smell like camphor (which smells like dried rosemary leaves only stronger). If you’re at the antique store now and can’t soak the jewelry, rub it with your fingers until it gets warm and smell it.
If you are at home, you can do the “409 Test” which is basically done by putting some 409 cleaner on a cotton swab and holding it up against the Bakelite for 10 seconds or so. If the cotton swab has a yellow stain on it — it’s probably Bakelite.
The most popular Bakelite jewelry that people buy today is Bakelite necklaces, pins and bracelets. Bakelite dice are also quite valuable.
Bakelite is not recyclable, due to it’s makeup. But why the heck would you want to recycle these beautiful pieces?!?!!