Apr 27, 2011

Bakelite Bangles Back with a Vengeance

Set of 5 Bakelite Cuffs by texjamma on Etsy

I LOVE Bakelite!  Who doesn't?  Well, my husband thinks it's silly to spend so much on "just plastic."  My favorite, and most wearable Bakelite pieces are bangle bracelets!  Clunky and cool, they look so great when you stack 'em up with a t-shirt and jeans, or pick a few to wear with a 1940's skirt and heels. 

Bakelite bangles are the epitome of Bombshell Betty, fun and flirty and oh-so-vintage...

A little history about this fab plastic: 
Bakelite was accidentally discovered in 1907 by Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekland, a Belgian chemist working in New York.  He was actually trying to create a type of varnish, which is why it smells so bad when heated.  It became very popular for use in radios, televisions and telephones because of it's heat-resistant properties.  True "Bakelite" was produced from 1907 to 1927, when Baekland lost his patent, and the Catalin Company picked up the recipe (altering it slightly) they added 15 new colors.  These days, Bakelite and Catalin are basically interchangeable. 

Gorgeous Greens...

Marbled Green Spinach Bakelite by RosePetalRow on Etsy

Two green Bakelite bangles by byVintageAnthologie on Etsy

Radiant Reds...

set of three cherry red bangles by THEROARINGTHRIFTIES on Etsy

Red carved wide bangle by overlookjulie on Etsy

Reverse Carved Red Translucent bangle by Betterintime

Fantastic Fall Tones...

Yellow Carved Wide Bangle by vintagehamilton on Etsy
Pumpkin Orange Ridged Bangle by lovelydears
Stunning Tortoise Shell Bakelite Carved Bangle by MercyMadge! on Etsy

I feel so Black and Blue...

Deeply Carved Black Bakelite Bangle by MercyMadge! on Etsy
Rare Blue Prystal Bakelite Bangle by TodaysVintageDesigns on Etsy
Black, Yellow and Forest Green Set of Six Spacer Bangles by Pinguim on Etsy

These are fantastic examples of beautiful Bakelite bangles... here is a great site for a complete Bakelite color list, with the common names and description of colors used by collectors/dealers.

A great site for more technical information on Bakelite and testing for Bakelite

Please visit my Etsy shop for vintage jewelry and vintage plastic bangles


  1. I love the colors of bakelite! Stack these together for a really wow look...great post, Lexi!

  2. Bakelite is such a fun summer accessory, colorful, clunky and contagious!

  3. Hi Lexi - always enjoy your blog so much. Colorful with great photos and information - plus a cheery sense of humor!

  4. Thank you Lexi for posting my Spinach Bangle from my Etsy shop
    Rosepetalrow.... I love bakelite and have more I will be posting to my shop.
    Thanks For Noticing

  5. Lovely blog. I use Karima Perry's color info when researching my items.
    I have a question about the wide tortoise shell bangle. Does anyone else notice a different carving quality? Does this indicate anything?
    Just wondering?

  6. As always Lexi, beautiful and informative!
    Stunning bangles, love them all!

  7. Good question, Julie! I will ask Sharon if she knows any of the history behind that piece. Some first guesses... Perhaps, this piece is later or earlier, maybe transitional to the art deco rigid geometrical carvings, or maybe geography comes into play... The piece could be european... These are just guesses! That would be a great research topic! Track down popular designs and Bakelite designers to see the trends in carvings and artistry! This could even help to date pieces more accurately, and distinguish between Bakelite, Catalin and other formaldehyde plastics.

  8. Have you sent your blog to Deb Lyons or Lyn Tortoriello? They are very knowledgeable. Lyn is on Rubylane, shop name "room 4 more".

  9. Fabulous article, Lexi & great links! I love Bakelite...is colors are so vibrant and it's darned near indestructible... Sling'em on, stack'em up and you've got an art show on your wrist!

  10. Another great blog...I love Bakelite, too!

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