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 1970 Cartier Charles Revson Aldo Cipullo Gold Electroplate Love BraceletLot Of Four Vintage Bakelite Bangles Brown Green Marbled Orange & BrownVintage Art Deco Sterling Silver Channel Set Rhinestone Bangle Bracelet PairVintage Black / Green Carved Bakelite Rippled Ribbon Clamper Bangle BraceletPair Antique 19thc Aesthetic Victorian Gold Filled & Enamel Buckle Cuff BraceletLot Of 22 Stunning Bakelite Bracelets Bangles, Assortment Of Colors & Sizes!Vintage 1960s Mod Modernist Black & White Acrylic Bangle Bracelet Stack Of 5Vintage Wide Tropical Leaf Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Vintage Lot 4 Bakelite Bangle Bracelets All Carved Cherry Amber Olive ChocolateVintage Carved Bracelet-bakelite?red-flowers-bangle-nr!1970 Charles Revson Aldo Cipullo Love Bracelet Bangle Gold ElectroplateVictorian Antique Gold Filled Lion's Head Hinged Bangle BraceletEtched 1940 Cut Out Cherry Red Vintage Deco Bakelite Wide Carved Bangel BraceletVintage Bracelet Sterling Silver 925 Bangle Carved Flower Bird Filigree! 6004Lot Of 3 - Vintage Bakelite Marbled Bangle Bracelet - Green, Cherry Red, Orange4 Butterscotch Forest Green Rhinestone 2-1/2" Diameter Bakelite Bangle BraceletsVtg Art Deco Bangle Bracelet Celluloid 5 Row Rhinestones Zigzag18 Vintage Bakelite Bangles Lot Tested Vintage Bakelite Tested Rare Yellow Overdye Bangle Bracelet - Intl Shipping Now Nice Autumn Trio Of Vintage Carved Bakelite Bangle BraceletsVintage Bakelite Hinge Bangle Bracelet - Carved Leaves - Wide Clamper Lot Of 4 Antique Vintage Gold Colored Bangle Bracelets #221Vintage Pumpkin Orange Bakelite Dot Bangle Bracelet Classic, Gorgeous Signed Miriam Haskell Baroque Pearl Hinged Bangle Bracelet!!2 Butterscotch Black Carved Rhinestone 2-1/4" Maiden Bakelite Bangle BraceletsSuper Wide Root Beer Brown Swirl Carved Leaf Bakelite Bangle Bracelet ~ Wow Wee!Huge 200+ Vintage To Now Bangle Bracelet Lot. Many Sizes,styles,materialsPr. Of Banded Laminated Bakelite & Wood Bangle BraceletsVintage Rootbeer Bakelite Bangle Bangle Lot Of 2 Chunky Gaudy Marbled Chocolate Sundae Bakelite Bangle BraceletDeco Look Fan Carved Resin Washed Marbled Paprika Red Bakelite Bangle Bracelet1911 Wide 3/4" Edwardian Antique S&bl Rose Gold Filled Gf Hinged Bangle BraceletVintage Bangle Whiting And Davis Co Gold Mesh Mesh Snake Bracelet-three CoilsVintage Ruby Red Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Solid Silver Horse Hoof Bangle BraceletSigned 12k Gf Antique Victorian Bracelet Gold Filled Bangle Engraved Flower 6084Bakelite Garnet Red Transparent Translucent Faceted Cut Bangle Bracelet1950's Gold Glitter Sparkle Confetti Lucite Bypass Clamper Bangle BraceletSet Of Bakelite Catalin Bangle BraceletsVintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelet 1" Wide Carved Cherry Red 3/4" Wide Vintage Faceted Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Marble Green YellowVintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelets Lot 3Vintage Antique Bakelite Bracelet Lot Bangle Cuff Butterscotch Dye Swirl! 6053Vintage Bracelet Lot Cuff Bangle Expansion Rhinestone Bead Charm Flower! Se199Antique Art Deco Cherry Amber Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Matches Necklace 120 GramSterling Silver 925 Vintage Lot Bracelet Bangle Twist Swirl Leaf 3271Vintage Antique Bakelite Bracelet Lot Bangle Cuff Butterscotch Dye Swirl! 6056Signed Sterling Bojar Silver 925 Vintage Bracelet Bangle Engraved Flower! 6002Vintage Bakelite Marbled Green/blue Zig Zag Panel Bangle Bracelet Blue Moon?Vintage Tested Domed Bakelite Bracelet/ BangleVintage Antique Bakelite Bracelet Lot Bangle Cuff Earth Tone Swirl Nice! 6050Vintage Beautiful Large Clear Lucite Natural 6 Beetle Bug Bangle BraceletVintage Antique Bakelite Bracelet Lot Bangle Cuff Swirl Earth Tone Nice! 6052Gold Fill Antique A.c. Co. Hinged Bangle Bracelet W French Paste Stones NrVintage Antique Bakelite Bracelet Lot Bangle Cuff Butterscotch Dye Swirl! 6055Wide Victorian Antique Gold Filled Etched Floral Heavy Hinged Bangle Bracelet Vintage Heavy Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet With Clasp 30 GramsAntique Engraved Bangle Bracelet- Marked Wjb- Gold Plated- Lovely!Elizabeth Taylor For Avon Zebra Stripe Clip On Earrings And Bangle SignedVtg Cream Corn Bakelite 5 Brown Polka Dots Wide Bangle Bracelet