The bangle is a type of bracelet that was especially popular from the 1920s through the 1940s. Usually constructed of chunky materials such as Bakelite, acrylic, metal, or wood, bangles often feature hinges at their backs. Some bangles are open at one end so a woman’s wrist can be slipped into them, while many bangles offer no additional opening at all—to wear these, you need small hands.

Colorful rings of plastic and Bakelite are among the most collectible types of bangles. In particular, the so-called Philadelphia bangles, which take their name from a Philadelphia auction in 1985 that featured two of these remarkable pieces, are highly prized.

Philadelphia bangles are always laminated in colors that include green, red, and yellow. The best pieces are hinged and feature either multicolor laminated wedges or individually colored slices that have been glued onto the bracelet body, which is usually a rich shade of Butterscotch.

Other Bakelite bangles include ones with painted or embedded polka dots, elastic bangles, and even examples made out of Mahjong tiles.

Celluloid was another popular bangle base material. Softer than Bakelite, which was hard enough to be carved, celluloid allowed designers to embed rhinestones and other costume jewels in the bangle’s surface, which came in every color of the rainbow. The most collectible celluloid bangles are generally the ones with wall-to-wall jewels and intricate designs.

Just about every costume jeweler of the mid-20th century offered their customers bangles. In the 1920s, the Mazer Brothers made gold-plated bangles dotted with rhinestones that were sold with matching earrings. Vintage Miriam Haskell hinged bangles often featured beaded flowers and leaves mounted on gilt or silvered surfaces. Other Haskell bangles were open at the back.

Vendome, which was introduced in 1944 and had its heyday in the 1950s, was the top of the Coro line. This was serious, simulated bling, so Vendome bangles projected a high-end sensibility. Examples include silver-plated bangles studded with fake sapphires, rhinestones, and powder-blue cabochons, with earrings to match...

Another 1950s designer, Kenneth Jay Lane, made fat bangles with faux amber and jet-black cabochons. And one especially famous gold-plated Stanley Hagler bangle from that decade was crammed with beaded flowers and polychrome glass petals—it was created for Wallis Simpson.

Today, contemporary costume jewelers have also found the bangle to be an appealing armature for their designs. New bangles that are sought by collectors include anodized aluminum bangles by Jane Adams, semi-transparent acrylic numbers by Gail Klevan, and resin bangles that look like thick slices of red pineapple, with visible wire inclusions inside, by Carla Edwards.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Researching Costume Jewelry

Researching Costume Jewelry

Jewelry lovers, venture through this amazing database of vintage jewelry articles, catalogs, and brochures, as well… [read review or visit site]

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

It looks like we're not in Kansas anymore with Elizabeth Rowlands' site on vintage costume jewelry from the 1940s a… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Art Deco Carved Resin Washed Marbled Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Stack Of 3Antique Victorian Bohemian Garnet Narrow Bangle BraceletVintage Charles Revson Aldo Cippulo Gold Plate Cartier Love BraceletAntique Snake Bracelet Gold Edwardian Victorian Bangle Cuff Jointed SerpentVintage Art Deco Sterling Silver Camphor Glass Rhinestone BraceletVintage Signed Ciner Moghul Enamel Rhinestone Cabochon Bangle Hinged BraceletVintage Wide Chunky Carved Cherry Red Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Excellent! NrVintage Art Deco Carved Bakelite Hinged Clamper Bangle Bracelet - TestedVintage Art Deco Reverse Carved Bakelite Applejuice Wide Bangle Cuff BraceletVintage Kramer Geoffrey Beene Chinese Foo Dog Jeweled Enamel Bangle BraceletBig Vintage Modernist Casa Maya Mexico Brass Copper Armadillo BraceletRare Vintage Solid 22k Gold Bangle Bracelet Jade 32g Asian Unique! 1269Vintage Whiting Davis High Relief Botanical Wide Hinged Cuff Bangle BraceletBig Bold Vintage Casa Maya Mexico Copper Enamel The Kiss Bangle BraceletVintage Carved Floral Translucent Lucite Apple Juice Bangle Bracelet ChunkyCiner 3 Piece Set Signed Choker Necklace Bracelet Bangle Gold Tone RhinestoneAntique Vintage 1930's Blk Carved Leaf & Roses Bakelite Bangle 1 1/2" ThickVintage Art Deco Chunky Carved Dot Overdye Rare Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Tested!Vintage Art Deco Glossy Carved All Bakelite Tested Bangle Bracelet Set Lot Of 3Antique Victorian 1890 Estate Gold Filled Engraved Bangle Bracelet NrVintage Art Deco Large Chunky Marbled Green Bakelite Clamper Bangle BraceletBakelite BangleLot Of 7 Bakelite Bracelets 1890s Antique Victorian Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet Floral Etched Design Nr1890s Antique Victorian Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet Floral Etched Design NrLot Vintage Antique Gold Filled Victorian Bangles 92.36 Grams Wear Or ScrapVintage Marbled Toffee Caramel Bakelite Bangle Bracelet 24 GVintage Carved Bakelite Butterscotch 1" Wide Bangle Bracelet Simichrome Tested Estate- 2 Bangle Bracelets, Chocolate & Butterscotch (part Bakelite) & Black Vintage Rare Ciner Rhinestone Enamel Horse Head Hinged Bangle BraceletRare Pair Ox Blood Bakelite Carved Bangles. Thick, Detailed And AmazingVintage Art Deco Cherry Amber Bakelite Faceted Bangle Approx 19.4 GramsVintage Lot Of 3 Genuine Bakelite Bangle Bracelets 2 Cherry Red & 1 Black CarvedSpectacular Victorian 7/8" Gold Filled Engraved Hinged Bracelet Scrap/use 62g Spectacular 3/4" Victorian Gold Filled Engraved Hinged Bracelet Scrap/use 34g Vintage Thick Large Bakelite Marbleized Orange Chunky Bangle BraceletVintage Striped Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Green Butterscotch Red Chunky #1Wide Vtg Renaissance Gothic Rev Dragon Griffin Rhinestone Chain Bracelet BangleBig Lot Of Vintage Estate Gold & Silver Tone Bracelets Hinged & BangleAntique Victorian Estate 1/20 12 K Gold Filled Hinged Wide Bangle Bracelet Nr11 Pc Bakelite Earrings Carved Bangles Ring Red Orange Amber ButterscotchSarah Coventry Versailles Huge Blue Jonquil Givre Glass Clamper Bangle Bracelet!8 Pc Vintage Beautiful Plastic Bangle Bracelet Lot Untested Estate Jewelry Vintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Marbled Jade Green Deep Carved Flowers FloralVintage Carved Black Domed Bakelite Bangle BraceletClassic Vintage Lea Stein Designer Celluloid Bangle Bracelet- Cream Black TwistLot Of 6 Vintage Bakelite Tortoise/root Beer Bangle Bracelet TestedStunning Art Nouveau 14k Gold Shell Bracelet W/blue Gemstone No Scrap 6g Vintage Genuine Lot Of 2 Bakelite Black Octagonal Bangle Bracelets TestedVintage Art Deco London Blue Topaz Glass Filigree Bangle BraceletVintage Art Deco Rolled Gold Snake BangleVintage Joan Rivers Changeable Ends Bangle Bracelet In Gold Tone 4 In 1Vintage Brass Hinged Safety Chain Pierced Repousse Bangle BraceletAmber Cherry Bakelite Sucker Style Bangle 1 1/4" Wide Heavily CarvedVintage Bakelite Deeply Carved Rose & Leaves Hinged Butterscotch Bracelet BangleVintage Deep Carved Apple Juice Bakelite Bangle BraceletVtg Deep Carved Black Roses W/ Leafs Lucite & Butterscotch Bakelite Bracelet! Vintage Genuine Bakelite Green Yellow Swirl 1-1/4" Wide Bangle Bracelet TestedVintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Lot Rare Maroon Black Cocoa Estate- 2 Bakelite Bangle Bracelets, Chocolate & Carved Butterscotch