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 1/2" Wide Bohemian Garnet 4 Row Bangle BraceletVintage Marbled Genuine Bakelite Bangles Stack Of FourHighend Estate Huge Carved Genuine Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Lot 9 Total Rare Vintage Lot Of Retro Celluloid And Bakelite Bracelets Bangles Mixed Lot Of ColorAntique Victorian Gold Filled Gf 1" Wide Signed L.m. & Co Bangle BraceletVtg Art Deco Red Green Butterscotch Genuine Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Stack Of 5Vintage Art Deco Black & Yellow Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Stack Of FourVintage Mid Century Trifari Plastic? Bakelite? Hinged BangleVintage Marbled Genuine Bakelite Bangle Carved Bamboo DesignSterling 925 Southwest Bracelet Bangle Cuff Turquoise Carnelian Ez Repair 5176Huge Corn Yellow Genuine Bakelite Vintage Bangle BraceletSterling 925 Southwest Bracelet Bangle Cuff Turquoise Carnelian Gemstones 5166Sterling 925 Vintage Southwest Bracelet Bangle Cuff Lapis Malachite Gems 5169Antique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Flower Bangle BraceletTortoise Shell Color Bakelite Plastic Chunky Bangle Art Deco Bracelet 8" VintageHigh End Estate Carved Genuine Bakelite Bangle Bracelet Lot 2 Total Rare Vintage Danecraft Sterling Silver 1/4" Wide Bangle BraceletBeautiful Vintage Gold Filled Etched Hinged Bangle Bracelet Vtg 80s Ben-amun Haute Couture Marbled Paisley Resin Heavy Cuff Bangle EarringsOriental Antique Hand Carved Cow Bone Bangle 41.7 GramsSterling 925 Vintage Bracelet Bangle Cuff Forever Knot Celtic Nautical Wow 5164Lot Of 2 Vintage Gold Filled Bangle Bracelets Etched Filigree Engraved FlowersVintage Retro Large Chunky Carved Bangle Bracelet Art Deco Jewelry TestedSterling 925 Vintage Bracelet Bangle Cuff Set Bead Southwestern Mod Wow 5201Antique Victorian Engraved Gold Filled Flower Bangle BraceletSterling 925 Vintage Bracelet Bangle Lot Carved Flower Mexico Southwestern 2186Joan Rivers Hand Black Enameled Bee Hinged Bangle Bracelet-never WornLot Of Vintage Bakelite Bangles, Carved End Of The Day With Spacers!Orange Marbeled Bakelite Bangles Simichrome Tested Same Day ShippingStunning Victorian To Vintage 1" Gold Filled Bangle Bracelet Scrap/use 69.30g Vintage Green Marbled Bangle. Art Deco Bakelite Type Bracelet 1930sVintage Sterling Silver 1/8" Wide Bangle BraceletMagical Natural Diamond Ocean Blue Topaz Gold 925 Silver Designer Bangle E68161Vintage Lot Of 35 Bangle Bracelet Cloisonne~beaded~glassRare Translucent Butterscotch And Red Dot Sun Bonnet Bakelite Hat Pin Broach Red Sun Bonnet Bakelite Hat Pin Broach Vtg Pair 2 Marbled Bakelite Bracelets Blood Orange Butterscotch Bangles TestedSterling 925 Vintage Bracelet Bangle Lot Heart Flower Rope Curb Chain 5238Vintage Carved Red Bakelite Bangle Bracelet - Pure Simple EleganceVintage Bird Victorian Gold Fill Bangled Bracelet Pat 1879 Hinged Car-5684Vintage Mens Sterling Silver 925 Tribal Trinidad Jamaica Bangle Cuff Bracelet3 Vintage Bakelite And Lucite Bangle Lot Green Apple Marble, Red, ChunkySterling 925 Vintage Charm Starter Cuff Bangle Bracelet Ball Barbell Wow 5181Bakelite Mississippi Mud Bangles Simichrome Tested Swirl Green Apple Jolly Rancher Marble Semitranslucent Vintage Bakelite BraceletVintage Green Striped Lucite Demi Parure Bangle Bracelets Matching Earrings NrSet Of 3 Bakelite Spacer Bangle Bracelets SwirledVintage Victorian Winard Engraved Gold Filled Flower Bangle BraceletVintage Bakelite Carved Bangle Green Tested W/simichrome W/issues 5/8" WideVintage Bakelite 3 Bangle Bracelets, 1 Carved Rootbeer And 2 Butterscotch, Mint!Vintage Gold Tone & Cz Double Snake Head Mesh Wrap Bangle/bracelet, Nice DetailVintage 70's Chunky Plastic Lucite Rhinestone Bangle Bracelet Aqua Blue ClearGreat Lot Vintage Blue Moon Bakelite Bangle Bracelets, 30.5 GramsMiriam Haskell Pink & Green Floral Enamel Bangle BraceletVintage Handcrafted Gold Filled Turquoise Wire Wrap Bracelet3 Vintage 60's Best Plastics Tri Color Marble Swirl Bangle Bracelet Stack Lot1940s Carved Caramel Bakelite Bangle TestedVintage 1920s/1930s Rolled Gold Flapper Arm Slave Bangle Antique Tortolani Bold Heavy Gold Leaf Pearls Designed Clamper Bangle BraceletVintage Clear Swirl Lucite Bangle Bracelet. Rare!!!