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    

Rare Vintage Florenza Saphiret Rhinestone BraceletRare Vintage Trifari Claire De Lune Faux Moonstone Rhinestone BraceletWonderful Antique Vintage Chinese Bovine Carved Bone Bangle Bracelet Lion DecoAntique Art Deco Hinged Silver Metal Mounted Carved Bovine Bone Bangle BraceletAntique Art Deco Carved Swirl Apple Juice Bakelite Wide Thick Bangle BraceletFine Antique Chinese Repousse Silver Bracelet BangleVintage Bakelite Set Of 5 Bangle Bracelets, Thick Walled, Round Form, AuthenticAntique Victorian Etruscan Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet C1880Vintage Carved Tested Butterscotch Bakelite Bracelet & Screwback EarrinngsArt Deco Red/clear Rhinestone Celluloid Bangle Bracelet VintageVintage Jewellery Art Deco Peking Glass/clear Stone BangleFantastic Antique Vintage Chinese Bovine Carved Bone Bangle Deco Estate JewelryCherry Bakelite Deep Carved Reticulated Bangle Vintage Bracelet Unique EstateHand-carved Vintage Amber-colored Bakelite Cylindrical Bangle BraceletHuge Vintage Lot Amber Lucite Bakelite Celluloid Bracelets Bangles Vintage Bakelite Orange Red Carved Bangle Bracelet Paired Butterscotch Marbled Bakelite Bakelite Dot Bangle BraceletsVintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelets Lot Of 2, One Carved, One MarbledImpressive Antique Vintage Chinese Bovine Carved Bone Bangle Deco Estate JewelryVtg Art Deco Clear Rhinestone Celluloid Bangle BraceletGorgeous Vintage Red Bakelite Carved Bangle BraceletGorgeous Pair Of Victorian Gold Filled Mesh Wedding Bracelets No Scrap 37g L1Stunning Vintage Estate Carved Spinach Bakelite Bangle Bracelet!!! 5819rMalachite Green Gemstone And Brass Bangle Bracelet Vintage Best! Vintage Lucite Cuff Bracelet Scallop Design By Mikal Jon For BayanihanFab! Vintage Frosted Lucite Cuff Bracelet Scallop Design Mikal Jon For BayanihanVintage Art Deco Jewellery Pretty Silver Filigree Flowers Opening Hinged BangleVintage Michaela Frey Wien Geometric Enamel & Gold Plated Hinged Bangle BraceletVintage Deep Carved Dark Red Bakelite Bangle Bracelet #649aTwo Pretty Vintage Sterling Bangles One DanecraftGorgeous Vintage Ciner Hinged Bangle Bracelet Sapphire, Ruby, Amethyst CabochonVintage Polka Dot Lucite Bangle Bracelet 2 1/2" DiameterVintage Rare Art Deco Reverse Carved Pine Cone Bakelite Bracelet - BangleVintage Lot Whiting & Davis Bangle Earring Sets Jewelry Lot Bracelets Chunky Vintage Jewellery Beautiful Art Nouveau Style Silver & Crystal BangleVintage Wide Faceted Cut Black Galalith Bakelite Bangle BraceletVintage Aspirin Shell Encased Lucite Bangle LotVintage Oval Green Bakelite Bangle BraceletLucite Reverse Carved Sea Life Bangle Bracelet Back Carved Sealife Apple JuiceSet Of 3~ Butterscotch Bakelite Bangles~deeply Carved~ Excellent! Tested~cool!Vintage Wide Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Blue ColorVintage Genuine Bakelite Marbled Carmel & Brown Bangle BraceletVintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Wide & Chunky Peach Marbled StripesVintage Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Butterscotch 1/2" Wide Simichrome TestedGold Tone Filigree Amethyst Glass And Enamel Hinged Bangle Bracelet Vintage ~nr~Vintage Art Deco Aqua Teal Faceted Glass Filigree Hinged Bangle BraceletMiriam Haskell Faux Seed-pearl Rhinestone Hinged Bangle Bracelet Need RepairVintage Aquatic Life Sea Star Sea Shell & Coral Clear Lucite Bangle Bracelet Sweet Antique/vintage 12k Gold Filled 7/16" Wide Hinged Bracelet No Scrap 14g L2Lot Of 3 Bakelite Bangle Bracelets Red YellowTeresa Bakelite Bangles Red Coral Swirl And Olive Green Swirl Belle Kogan DotVintage Mix Lot Of 49 Plastic Bangle Bracelets Vintage Signed Renoir Handmade Copper Modernist Beaded Bangle BraceletVintage Mottled Tortoise Lucite Bangle Bracelet W Rivets #561aAntique Victorian Gold Filled Engraved Open Bangle BraceletVintage Egg Yolk Butterscotch Heavily Carved Bakelite Bangle Bracelet4 Vintage Bakelite Spacer Bangle Bracelets 2 Tortoise Shell 2 Butterscotch Swirl12pc Vintage Bakelite Bracelet LotOutstanding Vintage Bangle Bakelite Carved Translucent Painted Flower BraceletVintage Marbelized Spinach Green Bakelite Bangle Bracelets Set Of 3