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 Butterscotch Double Flowers Carved Hinged Bakelite Bracelet Bangle TstdVintage Carved Red Bakelite Bangle BraceletBig Wide Antique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Flower Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Ornately Engraved Floral Gold Filled Bangle BraceletVintage Plain Gold Filled Bangle BraceletTop Carved Apple Juice Prystal Bakelite Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Rose Gold Filled Paste Rhinestone Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Engraved Scroll Gold Filled Bangle BraceletReverse Carved Chrysanthemum Apple Juice Prystal Bakelite Bangle BraceletVintage Bakelite Bracelet - Red Chunky Carved BangleVintage Dark Cherry Red Carved Bakelite Bracelet Bangle Leaves Tested 10 1/2"Antique Edwardian Gold Filled Filigree Green Yellow Paste Stone Bangle BraceletVintage Black Double Acorns Carved Hinged Bakelite Bracelet Bangle TstdSpectacular Rare Vintage Trifari Jeweled Coil Snake Moghul Bangle BraceletVintage Cherry Red Butterscotch Carved H/p Pieced Bakelite Bracelet Bangle TstdEstate Found - Gorgeous Trifari Snake Serpant Bangle BraceletVintage Carved Bakelite Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Flower Engraved Gold Filled Bangle BraceletVintage Bakelite Apple Juice Bracelet Wavy Twist Marble Tested True Antique Victorian Etruscan Motif Mesh Bypass Coiled Bangle Bracelet Pearl Garnet8 Vintage Carved Rockabilly All Bakelite Tested Bangle Bracelet Huge Set Lot!Gorgeous Vintage Rare Red & Black Deco Bakelite Hinged Bangle Bracelet.Antique Art Nouveau Bangle Bracelet Blue Jewels Paris France Signed DatedBakelite Antique Art Deco Vintage Bracelet Bangle Deep Carved Flower Floral 4086Antique Early 1900s Bohemian Garnet 3 Row Bangle Bracelet Excellent ConditionVictorian Gold Filled Black Enamel Chased Engraved Design Hinged Bangle BraceletRare? Vintage? Lot Of 7 Bakelite? Plastic? Bangle? Bracelets 2 Tone Chunky? Vintage Bakelite Daisy Bracelet Lot Spacer Pea Green Butterscotch Deco Bangle Huge Lot 10 Bakelite Bracelets Butterscotch Spacer Deco Bangle Early Plastic Vintage Old Antique Victorian / Edwardian Rolled Gold Bangle Bracelet Paste SetAntique Victorian Gold Filled Lion Head Bangle Bracelet Impressive Open Work NrVintage/antique Carved Butterscotch Color Bakelite 1" Wide Bangle BraceletVintage/antique Carved Cameo Bangle Bracelet & Heart Pin 12k Gold Filled SetSarah Coventry's Vtg Versailles Mystic Topaz Givre Hinged Bangle BraceletVintage Opaque Cherry Red Carved Bakelite Bangle W/ Starburst PatternBakelite Bangle Bracelet Stack Lot 2 Turquoise Coral Butterscotch Octagon!!Signed Mexico 925 Sterling Silver Vintage Bangle Bracelet Clamper 47g 1109"lucky 13" Bakelite Spacer Bangle Bracelets Solids & MarbledVintage Kenneth Jay Lane Green Swirl Lucite Bangle Bracelet & Necklace Set RetroLot Of 4 Vintage Bangle Bracelets, One BakeliteVtg Ciner Gold Tone White Enamel Rhinestone Giraffe Clamp Bangle Bracelet SignedAntique Victorian Ornate Silver Hinged Bangle Bracelet Hm Birmingham 1882Vintage Bakelite Bracelet Bangle Carved Black Off White Modern Details TestedVintage Bakelite Clamper Bracelet Dark Green Mid Century Tested TrueVintage To Modern Bracelet Lot Bangle Cuff Rhinestone Faux Pearl Expansion Lr176Fantastic Deeply Engraved Victorian Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet NrQvc Collectors Joan Rivers Goldtone Glittering Pave Bangle B270Huge 1960s Rockabilly Swirl Purple Carved Lucite Bakelite Era Bangle Bracelet!Beautiful Butter Scotch & Black Bakelite Striped Bangle BraceletLot Of Vintage Gold Filled Bangle BraceletsStunning Bakelite Vtg. Chunky Dark Green Bangle Bracelet- Semicrome And 409 TestVintage/antique Carved Ebony Color Bakelite 3/4" Wide Bangle BraceletVintage Lot Chinese Cinnabar Bead Necklace 5 Bangle Bracelets Earrings CloisonneMiriam Haskell Bangle Hinged Bracelet Flowers & PearlsBakelite Vintage Bangle Black & Yellow Swirl Vintage Bakelite Lot Of 4 Bangle / Spacer / Bracelets3 Vintage Light Green, Green Jadeite, Jade Bangles/hand Carved 100+ Grams EachVintage Bakelite Bracelet Bangle Butterscotch Spacers Lot Of 2 Marbelized TestedVintage Green Bakelite Diamond & Scalloped Faceted Bangle Bracelet 2.5" IdVintage 3 Red Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Lot Swirl Solid Spacer Early Plastic Cute