Posted 5 months ago
I recently decided to have another look at my plastic jewellery. I tested or retested some of my items and the results were sometimes surprising. Some necklaces turned out to be pressed amber, rather than Bakelite and some others were Bakelite and not other plastic, and some other ones were tested once before and it turned out that they happened to be just dirty. Oh, well, one can always learn.
In the first photo you can see some of the bangles that appeared to test positive for Bakelite. Some were no real surprise because they have the look and feel of vintage Bakelite.
The three bangles in the second picture, however, are iffy. I think that the wide brown bangle might be dyed and therefore shows up yellow. The bangle feels like thin Bakelite but the irregular shape makes me think that it isn't. The orange one shows up yellow as well, but to me it doesn't look like vintage Bakelite. The carving might be believable to a degree but the dull finish is kind of telling me something else. The last one was a real surprise because as far as I remember, I have never seen Bakelite like that before. It is a child's bangle of some kind of marbled plastic with a peacock feather decoration. It showed yellowish, too. I guess that I still have to do some research and testing to rule these three in or out.
I believe that testing with Simichrome is a pretty good way to check for Bakelite but unless you make sure that your items are clean and not dyed, don't rely on this method alone. Also check how it feels and check the style, and follow your instincts. If it doesn't look right, check again. That is what I learned from this exercise. Rubbing and smelling doesn't work for for me. I never smell anything, and in the rare occasion I do smell something, I have no clue what it is.
And just a note on the side: I have some very nice pieces of plastic that are not Bakelite. I love to wear them and get many compliments when I do. So, it doesn't have to be Bakelite to be beautiful and collectable.
Thanks for looking:)