Cheap Bakelite

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Ah, bakelite…beads, bangles, earrings and many other items made from “the world’s first synthetic plastic” are a hallmark of the swing era, and rose to popularity during the 1930’s because of bakelite’s affordability (as compared to fine jewelry). If only this were the case today – when I encounter bakelite in most antique or vintage stores, the price is usually heavily inflated, with bangles selling for over $100 each. Why do these sellers think they’ve found a gold mine? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t pay that much for any piece of plastic. It’s not THAT rare.

I began to grow frustrated with the prices in these stores, wanting some bakelite pieces to complete certain outfits, then I remembered my old friend eBay. eBay has sellers offering bakelite in abundance, at all price points, including some really great and affordable bakelite pieces. Here’s a sampling of what you may find in bakelite for under $15.00 on eBay:

Carved ivory bakelite bracelet, starting price $0.25!
This little bakelite horseshoe pendant just needs a chain - starting bid $0.99
Set of three bakelite bangles, bidding at $5.50
Swirled bakelite ring, starting bid $6.00
Interesting red bakelite brooch, starting bid $9.99
Green bakelite earrings, starting bid $9.50
Black Art Deco bakelite clamp bracelet, bidding at $12.50
Orange carved bakelite bracelet, starting bid $9.99

3 thoughts on “Cheap Bakelite

  1. Just a little FYI: Beware of modern bakelite (i.e. fakelite) being sold as “vintage bakelite”! Importers of cheap Asian-made plastics have become VERY savvy at imitating the designs of older pieces AND they’ve now even starting making pieces that pass the simichrome test. YIKES! There are several good websites that try to guide buyers on the (very often difficult to tell via internet images) differences between true vintage bakelite and fakelite. I’m pretty sure I got stuck with some cheap Chinese knock-offs sold as vintage bakelite on ebay. :-((

    1. Yes! This is a very valid concern. I usually like to check out the seller’s other auctions to make sure there’s enough musty/antique stuff before I bid.

      But I also like good fakelite pieces from Classic Hardware. 😉

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