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    

Antique Victorian Almandine Bohemian Garnet Buckle Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Almandine Garnet Clover Bypass Bangle BraceletIconic Wide Coro Carmen Miranda Camellia Retro Modern Bangle Bracelet Pat 116288Vintage Art Deco Silver Plate Singing Birds Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Art Nouveau Gold Filled Emerald Green Glass Bangle BraceletVintage Art Deco Shiny Uber Carved All Bakelite Tested Bangle Bracelet Lot Set!Vintage Polka Dot Reverse Carved Apple Juice Bakelite Bangle BraceletBeautiful Vintage Deep Carved Cherry Red 100% Bakelite Bangle BraceletVintage Unusual Large Creme & Red Inlaid Bakelite Bracelet Estate Beautiful Bakelite Bracelet Lot 8 Pieces In Great Condition!! S. Kirk And Sons Sterling Silver Bangle Cuff Bracelet Repousse Vintage Gem Craft Gold Plate Enamel Rhinestone Double Ram Head Clamper BraceletVintage Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelet (red)Sign Miriam Haskell Baroque Pearl Rhinestones Flower Bracelets Bangle Jewelry Vintage Sterling Silver Wire Work Snake Serpent Bracelet Vintage 1 1/4" Wide Cherry Red Diamond Faceted Bakelite Bangle BraceletVintage Verified Juliana D & E Carved Black Glass Rhinestone Bangle BraceletVintage Art Deco Reverse Carved Bakelite Orange Wide Bangle Cuff Bracelet TestedStunning Victorian 1" Wide 14k Gold Filled Enameled Bracelet No Scrap 17.07g Vintage Estate Art Deco Dark Brown Chunky Carved Bakelite Bangle BraceletLot Of Bakelite And Lucite Bangle Bracelets Butterscotch Creamed Corn Polka Dot Set Of 6 Vintage Brown Bakelite Matching Bangle Bracelets Square Tested PositiveVtg Confetti Glitter Shell Starfish Lucite Hinge Clamper Bangle Bracelet Book PcRare Victorian Antique Etruscan Matching Pair Bangle Bracelets Gold Filled SlideBeautiful Vintage Deeply Carved Butterscotch Bakelite Bangle! No Res! NiceVintage Rockabilly Cherry Red Lucite Zig Zag Bakelite Era Bangle Bracelet -mint!Butterscoth Carved Clamper Bakelite Pierced BangleStunning Victorian 3/8" Wide 14k Gold Filled Engraved Bracelet No Scrap 15.18g Huge Runway Rockabilly Checkboard Carved Lucite Bakelite Era Bangle Bracelet!Vintage 60's Chunky Carved Plastic Lucite Bangle Bracelet Golden YellowVintage Estate Art Deco Red High Relief Carved Celluloid Floral Bangle BraceletVintage Lot Of 3 Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelets All Cherry Red TestedVintage Art Deco Dark Moss Green Carved Textured Bakelite BraceletVtg Bakelite Tested Lemon Yellow Lime Green Swirl Thick Chunky Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Gold Filled Engraved Bangle Bracelet 7" Large Beautiful 21 GrBakelite Bracelet Butterscotch 11 Carved Cross Hatch SquaresBakelite Set Of Two Z-carved BanglesVintage 9 Ct Rolled Gold BangleVintage Bakelite Avocado Olive Green Carved Bangle Beautiful!!!Vintage Bakelite And Wood Bangle Bracelet Gorgeous Vibrant Red With Light Wood!Carved Bakelite BangleVintage Bakelite Bracelets, Bangles Tested 5 Yellow & ButterscotchBeautiful Vintage Bakelite Creamed Corn Butterscotch Carved BangleAntique Victorian Gold Filled Engraved Bangle Bracelet Floral 14k Gf Estate FindVintage Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Variegated Spinach Green Mustard Yellow Bakelite Missisppi Mud Trio Of BanglesVtg Bakelite 3 Dot Laminated 3 Layered Tortoise Belle Kogan Bangle Bracelet!Gorgeous 1.5" Wide Bakelite White Bracelet W/ 6 Big Marbled Turquoise Blue DotsVintage Lot Of Three (3) Sterling Silver Bangle Bracelets, Matching Bangles!1950s Vintage Wide Applejuice Bakelite Bangle Simichrome TestedVintage Sterling Silver 950 Bangle Bracelet Heavy Taxco Mexico Alicia 60 Gr Vintage Whiting & Davis Gold Plated Amber Glass Ornate Bracelet Hinged BangleJoan Rivers Articulated Snake Bangle Bracelet Multicolor Enamel Goldtone Vintage Bakelite Era Deco Chunky Lucite Injected Dot Bangle Bracelet~ Fab ColorsLarge Caramel Yellow Bakelite Carved BraceletOld Carved & Cut Out Leaf Designs Butterscotch Bakelite Bangle Bracelet 1" WideGorgeous Victorian/vintage 7/16" Wide Gold Filled Hinged Bracelet No Scrap 15g Large Lot 117 Vintage Plastic And Lucite Bangle Bracelets Antique Victorian Old Gold Filled Flower Floral Etched Clamper Bangle BraceletVintage Art Deco Painted Oriental Style Geisha Celluloid Plastic Bracelet Bangle