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 Bohemian Garnet 1/2" Wide 4 Row Bangle BraceletExquisite Huge Alfred Philippe Trifari Jewels Of India Clamper Bangle-book PieceAntique Etruscan Victorian Gold Filled Adjustable Wrap Coil Vtg Bangle BraceletsVintage Carved Apple Juice Amber Hinged Bakelite Bracelet Bangle Black InsetVintage Lot Bakelite Bangle Pieces TestedVintage Lot Of Bangles....bakelite?...sold As 1 Lot... ....l@@kVintage And Scarce Carved Flower Green Bakelite Bangle Bracelet NrVtg Alex And Ani Energy Initial Letter S Silver Adjustable Bangle Charm BraceletArt Deco Bakelite Red & Black Marbelized Half Circle BraceletVtg Confetti Multi-color Sea Shell Clamper Lucite Bracelet Eames Era BangleVintage Pair Marbelized Carved Polka Dot Bakelite Thin Bracelets Bangles14k Gold Victorian Antique Vintage Bangle Bracelet Tested Diamond 18.3g 1027Vintage French Double Brooch And Bangle Set...bakelite? & Copper Alloy....l@@kAntique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Rose Flower Bangle BraceletVintage 7 3/4" Rootbeer Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Carved Leaves & Berries Large5 Marbled Swirl Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Lot-reddish Orange,green,butterscotch.Vintage Bakelite Bangles Bakelite Vintage Bangle Bracelet ButterscotchVictorian Antique Vintage Gold Filled Gf Bangle Bracelet Engrave Nouveau 4101Vintage Lot Of 6 Genuine Bakelite Bangle Bracelets Red Fire Marbled Green YellowVintage Wide Black With Red Dots Bakelite Bangle BraceletGorgeous Art Deco Sterling Crystal Paste Engraved Hinged Bangle Bracelet Vintage Old Heavily Carved Cherry Juice Bakelite BangleCelluloid And Rhinestone Bangle Bracelet VintageRetro Lucite Bangle Reverse Carved, Red Tropical & Orange Gold Fish, Sea Life Antique Victorian Engraved Repousse Gold Filled Hinged Bangle Bracelet Ahb SignAntique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Hinged Bangle Bracelet Sign. Bodman Bros.Two Bakelite Green Swirl Bangle BraceletsBakelite/catlin Deeply Carved Pin-back Brooch & Bangle, C.1940's Or SoVintage Antique Rolled Gold Bangle Bracelet Glass Coral DiamonteVintage Kenneth Lane Cabochon Beaded Bangle Bracelet Spring Gold Tone Set Of 2 Estate Vintage Genuine Green Marbleized Tested Bakelite Bangles Nr!Stunning! Wide Old Celluloid Bangle- Estate Fresh!Vintage Victorian Gold Filled Wide Embossed Bangle Bracelet FabulousGorgeous Vintage 1930s Art Deco Gold And Brown Bakelite 6 Dot Bangle BraceletVintage 1940's Confetti Lucite Seashell Green Clamper Bangle Hinged BraceletAntique Victorian Edwardian Jf Ss Pat Gold Filled Hinged Floral Bangle BraceletAntique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Flower Bangle BraceletVintage 9ct Rolled Gold Hinged Bangle Bracelet Old Hand Chased DecorationAntique Victorian Gold Filled Bangle BraceletVintage Costume Jewelry Lot Bakelite Sterling Trifari Gold Filled BanglesFive Vintage Green Marbled Swirled Bakelite Bangle Bracelets8 Pc.thin Lucite Bangles,translucent, Encased,multi Colored. One Time CollectionVtg Antique Intaglio B&b Bates & Bacon Gold Fill Heavy Buckle Bangle BraceletLot Of Vintage Bakelite BraceletsAntique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Hinged Bangle Bracelet Sign. Andreas DaubFabulous 1" Wide Victorian Gold Filled Hinged Bracelet Scrap/use 68.42g Heavy!!!~~ Vintage/retro Lot~~ Bangle Bracelets~~clear Lucite, Celluloid Plastics~~Job Lot Vintage To Now Silver Jewellery Bangles Bracelets Necklaces LocketEarly Historical Rare C1910old Vtg Bakelite 2bangle Bracelets Butterscotch N/r2 Vintage 4 Row Rhinestone Art Deco Celluloid Bangle BraceletsVintage Gold Tone Gemstone Victorian Era Antique BraceletBakelite And Wood Bangles Bracelets 14k 12k 10k Gf Victorian Bangles Watch Fobs Brooches Necklaces 582 G Scrap SellAntique Gold Fill Wide Repousse Hinged Bangle Bracelet Signed Nr100% Bakelite Guaranteed Carved Bangle Bracelet Pierrot Harlequin Butler WilsonVintage Real Daisy Flower Lucite Bangle Bracelet. Rare!!!Vintage Couture 14k Gold & Genuine Purple Lapis Lazuli Chinese Bangle BraceletColorful Pill Bangle Bracelet Confetti Lucite Polk Dot Clear TranslucentGorgeous Vintage Cream Celluloid Bangle Bracelet Floral Rose Mums Lily Of Valley