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Butterscotch Copal Beads

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    Posted 6 years ago

    (41 items)

    Today's offering at my local thrift store was this 29" strand of Butterscotch Bakelite. There are 22 beads that measure just about 1 3/8". I tested these beads using the 401 method and I am happy to report that the Q-tip turned yellow/light brown upon rubbing the beads. I am guessing these beads are from the 1950's-1960's. I don't know what to add but that it has a good sound and weight. Thanks for stopping by.

    ** Edit: Upon heating these in hot water, they smelled honey-like, resinous, which fits the description of copal.

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    1. antiquerose antiquerose, 6 years ago
      Delicious -----> Looks like Carmel
    2. valentino97 valentino97, 6 years ago
      Yes these are delicious! What a nice strand - great find!!
    3. Emme Emme, 6 years ago
      Thanks for the love valentino97, brunswick, mikelv85, Elisabethan, antique rose, AmatoorPikr, racer4four. I was lucky.
    4. davyd286, 6 years ago
      What are those thin lines across the middle of the beads?
    5. Emme Emme, 6 years ago
      It looks like they are two halves fused together. I don't know bakelite well--- so I could be wrong--- they passed the 409 and smell test--- but I am no expert.
    6. valentino97 valentino97, 6 years ago
      Good eye davyd286 - I did not see the seams. What else could they be - Lucite? or copal/fake amber? Emme - look at the bead holes - inside where they can't be polished they will have a rough and lighter (because it can't be polished, duh) finish. I use simichrome to test old beads.
    7. valentino97 valentino97, 6 years ago
      Forgot to say - if the inside of the bead looks identical to outside....not bakelite. Why? Because bakelite beads were polished to a sheen but the carving cuts and bead holes retain the rough original surface.
    8. Emme Emme, 6 years ago
      Well, the insides are rough and uneven, and the bead holes are rough and lighter than the rest of the beads. Where does one buy simichrome?
    9. Emme Emme, 6 years ago
      I had originally thought they might have been african beads, as I had seen a necklace from South Africa with similar beads. When researching I came across Bakelite.
    10. Emme Emme, 6 years ago
      valentino97, the sound when these beads hit is a clacking bright sound. I read that that is an indication. I posted pics of the holes and tried to show inside the beads, not smooth.
    11. valentino97 valentino97, 6 years ago
      Thanks for the last 2 pix - now I think they are from Africa. Also see the cracks and grazing in last pic? They are still really nice beads - but not bakelite. I think this is a natural tree resin called copal which many of the prayer beads are made of. I have some copal too - I thought it was amber! but I didn't pay much.

      Simichrome is available on ebay. I really prefer it to 409.
    12. valentino97 valentino97, 6 years ago
      Emme - I'll post the inside of bakelite bead for you later.
    13. Emme Emme, 6 years ago
      Valentino97, thank you! You are a star in my skies. Thanks!

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