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Vintage Bakelite Jewelry

Durable and colorful, Bakelite jewelry defined an era of fashion forward jewelry accessories. Arguably most memorable are the remarkable range of Bakelite bracelets, which stormed the market in the early years of the 20th century, and, thanks to their longevity, still can appear today as shiny as the day they were made.

Patented in 1907, Bakelite revolutionized the field of plastic products. It was lightweight and yet one of the most heat-resistant moldable plastics, so it proved usable in an incredibly wide range of products, from automotive parts to board games. By the 1920s Bakelite had entered the field of jewelry design, with its iconic luminescent bracelets proving an overnight success.

Vintage Bakelite bangles are arguably a most treasured find among jewelry fans. As with many vintage items, popular Bakelite colors, such as white and green, have faded or changed in tone over time. So some color variation is to be expected among these vintage finds.


Quick Facts

  • The inventor behind Bakelite was a Belgian scientist named Leo Baekeland
  • “Time” magazine proclaimed Bakelite the “material of a thousand uses” in an article profiling the material in 1924
  • Bakelite’s relatively high resistance to heat makes for an easy test as to a piece’s authenticity. If you question whether your bracelet is Bakelite or not, apply a hot tip of a small pin or tine of a fork against the inside band. If it melts, it's plastic; true Bakelite won’t melt

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Bakelite Bracelets Grouping
Jun 01, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage Bakelite Bracelets Grouping
by Searchlight / Saucon Valley Auctions
Est: $50- $100
$603 Bids
Vintage French Pierrot Bakelite Clown Bracelet
Jun 01, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage French Pierrot Bakelite Clown Bracelet
by Searchlight / Saucon Valley Auctions
Est: $50- $100
$302 Bids
vintage estate jewelry: Bakelite bracelet
Jun 17, 10:00 AM EDT
vintage estate jewelry: Bakelite bracelet
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $50- $65
$250 Bids
vintage estate jewelry: pair Bakelite bracelets
Jun 17, 10:00 AM EDT
vintage estate jewelry: pair Bakelite bracelets
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $60- $75
$300 Bids
vintage estate jewelry: Bakelite bracelet
Jun 17, 10:00 AM EDT
vintage estate jewelry: Bakelite bracelet
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $60- $75
$300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Vintage Bakelite Jewelry


Yardley Antiques

Yardley Antiques

Searchlight / Saucon Valley Auctions

Searchlight / Saucon Valley Auctions

Tremont Auctions

Tremont Auctions