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 Antique Art Deco Neiger Bros Enamel Amethyst Green Czech Glass BraceletAntique Victorian Sterling Silver Curb Link BraceletAntique Victorian French Sterling Silver Rose Gold Flower Bangle BraceletUnusual Mark French Pinchbeck Victorian Turquoise Stunning BangleAttractive Antique 9ct Rose Gold & Diamond Set Etruscan Hinged BangleDazzling Vintage Juliana Gold Plate Orange Topaz Rhinestone BraceletVintage Ciner Gold Plate Enamel Rhinestone Lion BraceletLot 61 Vintage Retro Lucite & Plastic Bracelets Bangle Cuff Stretch Marble ColorVintage Mid Century Modernist Matisse Green Enamel On Copper BraceletAntique Victorian Natural Coral Bead Seed Pearl Gold Filled Bangle BraceletVintage Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Lot 6 Bracelets Tested Rare Vintage Pennino Rhodium Plate Rhinestone Emerald Glass Flower BraceletAntique Late Victorian Carved Lava Cameo Pompei Italy Souvenir BraceletVintage Marbled Butterscotch & Red Orange Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Stack Of 3Vintage Bakelite Bangle Lot Carved Bamboo Butterscotch Marble Pierced FacetedVintage Carved Butterscotch Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Old Plastic Jewelry YellowVintage Art Deco Unsigned Coro Art Glass Rhinestone Flower BraceletVtg Art Deco Sterling Silver Channel Set Wide Blue Glass Paste Bangle BraceletVintage 14k G.p. Jade Bangle Hinged BraceletVintage Juliana D & E Gold Plate Rhinestone Art Glass Flower Dangle BraceletVintage Juliana Gold Plate Rhinestone Aurora Borealis Crystal Dangle Bracelet3 Vintage Carved Celluloid Plastic Bangle Bracelets Floral Design JapanRare Vintage Jewelry~ Signed Trifari Bangle Clamper Bracelet Rhinestone GoldGorgeous Nolan Miller Green Parrot Bangle Hinged Bracelet!Wide Cream Corn Large Carved Dyed Dots* Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Vintage JewelryVintage Signed Ora Rhodium Plate Crystal Rhinestone Buckle BraceletChunky Deep Carved Root Beer Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Simichrome Tested Cartier Yellow Gold Ep "love" Bracelet - Size 18Wow Thick Butterscotch With 4 Wood Dots Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Vintage JewelryVintage Green/black Bakelite Hinged Clamper Bangle BraceletLot All Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet Scrap Wear Pearl Enamel Amethyst 133.7gramsRare Vintage Incredible Signed Florenza Brooch Bangle Earring Aurora BorealisAntique Victorian Gold Filled Wide Lion's Head Bangle Bracelet Ruby Opal StonesVintage Lot Of 9 Assorted Color Bakelite Bangle BraceletsMagnificent Art Deco Celluloid Blue Painted Rhinestone Bangle To Die For! No ResVintage Extremely Unique Overdye Deeply Carved Bakelite Tested Bangle Bracelet!Lot Of 6 Bakelite Bracelets Bangles Green Red Black Vintage 1950’s Rare Multi-color Layered Deco Design Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Vintage Jewelry NrAntique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Named Elsa Bangle BraceletSemi Translucent Marbled Peach With Red Dots Bakelite Bangle Beautiful Victorian 12k Gold Filled Flowers & Leaves Ladies Bangle Bracelet.Vintage 7pc Lucite Plastic Lot-2 Rings Bangles Fruit Set Necklace Bracelet 1 ErGorgeous Antique/vintage Gold Filled 5/16" Wide Bangle Bracelet No Scrap 12.37g Victorian Deco Vintage Big Jewelry Lot Gf Bangle Locket Agate Hand P Sterling +4 Gorgeous Antique Art Nouveau/deco Gold Filled Gf Bangle Bracelet Vintage Deeply Carved Butterscotch, Red & Black Bakelite Bangle 4 Bracelet Set 4pc Victorian Repousse Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet Lot5 Vintage Galalith French Bangle BraceletsMh & Co Victorian Antique Gold Filled Ornate Floral Hinged Bangle BraceletJfss Art Nouveau Vintage Gold Filled Pearl & Blue Stone Hinged Bangle BraceletFiesta Color Bakelite Bangle Spacers And Tubular Bakelite SpacersVictorian Antique Gold Filled Etched Ornate Floral Hinged Bangle BraceletPatd. 1911 Victorian Engraved Hinged Bangle Bracelet 7.5"x1" 61.9grams! No ScrapVintage Scalloped Rare Daisy Pink Blue Bakelite Era Lucite Bangle Bracelet Set!Mexicana Laminated Zig Zag Bakelite Bangle Chris Donbek Vintage Bakelite Signed BangleAntique Unusual Double Stretch Opening Gold Filled Engraved Bangle Bracelet Nr Laminated Bakelite BangleVintage Gold Filled 12k Ornate Embossed Floral & Leafs Etching Bangle Bracelet5 Vintage Galalith French Bangle Bracelets