Thursday, June 2, 2011

IN SEARCH OF THAT PERFECT RED BANGLE...

It all started simple enough - gifts from my folks over the past few years - a beautiful pin and earring set, and a couple of delightful bangles.  I was told, sometime back, that a true collection of anything starts with 7 pieces.  A collection in the making - it was off to a good start, but may have spiraled out of control...in a good way.
What started as 3 (if you count the pin/earrings as a set), has fast evolved into this...a COLLECTION!  A collection of BAKELITE - beautiful, Depression Era cast phenolic resin costume jewelry.  Yes, PLASTIC, and they make me very happy, indeed!
Taken from "The Bakelite Jewelry Book", Bakelite was "emblematic of a unique culture that only could have blossomed between a depression and world war.  A sign of the times, Bakelite baubles were a valentine to optimism, a what-the-hell gaiety, a feeling of "making hay while the sun shines".  So what if you had no money!  Just pin some dime-store cherries on your old blue serge lapel, tilt your felt chapeau, and go get 'em!  Like Fiestaware, cocktail shakers, and bridge parties, Bakelite jewelry was indisputably compatible with a national mind-set...it is definitely a walk on "the sunny side of the street."
Invented in 1907, with most of the jewelry being produced between the years of 1933 and 1941, Bakelite was used in radios, telephones, auto parts, silverware handles (remember those knives your grandparents used to have?), buttons...and beloved adornments.  I love all the jewelry pieces, but seem to have a special affinity for the bangles.
Chunky, clunky (Bakelite has a very distinct "clunk" to it...definitely not the same sound as when you clink two plastic bracelets together), stackable BANGLES - bright and happy, at home on my arm.  The zigzag pieces were Mother's Day gifts from my kids this year...pristine, and probably never worn, from the looks of them - they've been worn now!  Bakelite was cast in bracelet blanks (tubes), or flat pieces, and then completely hand machined and carved, so there are never two pieces exactly identical - decorative strokes may be be close in design from bracelet to bracelet, but it was all in the hands of the individual craftsman.

I have a few spots open in the collection, still (I am sure it will never be closed to auditions, however)...with one expected to arrive at my door any day now, there is a big open space for a beautifully carved, ever elusive, red one, and I will be looking for that when I go back home this summer (the small red spacer in my possession just does not "cut it", though I love each and every piece...I want "substantial", and know that red is highly prized).  It will be the only thing I have my sights set on, but somehow I have a feeling, will probably not be the only thing brought back.
Start a collection of your own, whatever it may be...something happy; something cherished; something to make you smile with delight; something to call your own.  Drop by Vintage Thingie Thursday at Colorado Lady  to take in more great collections, or visit some folks with a little more self control and simple, single items.  As we head into another weekend, make it safe...

16 comments:

Colleen Mcgraw said...

Wow!! do you play "bet a bangle" with your husband too? They are so you and so beautiful....like I said, so you.

Anonymous said...

I always have thought that if you have 3 of something, it's a collection! Maybe I'll change that to 7. Then when some of my relatives, who don't collect, make their nasty comments about all the "stuff" I have, I can assure them that, because I only have 3 of something, it's not a new collection!

Bead and Needle said...

I am betting that the person who told me "7" was probably someone looking to unload some Bakelite on me! :-)

FABBY'S LIVING said...

Oh my, I love bangles! I have them in gold, wood, plastic, pearls, beads, hippy, leather...etc. My granddaughters love to play with them, I bet if they saw yours they'd scream! Thank you for dropping by and for the lovely and sweet comment! Lots of hugs and see you again! FABBY

The Primitive Bucket said...

wow Sis you have a ...sickness errr... collection for sure. They are all great and I hope we find a big red while your here, remember I'm the queen of finding bargains at the antique mall!!!! :O)

Jackie said...

Oh I love those bangles, I cannot wear bangles as they look terrible on my skinny boney wrists! But I love when you wear them, they are so so so retro!! Cool beans!

LV said...

I am familiar with those style bracelets. Just never that many at one time. You really do have a collection.

Dorthe said...

UHH how beautiful a collection you have---I never found a bakelite bracelet here in DK--only buttons- and as in lamps...
but those fresh colored and lovely bracelets are so special, and wonderful.
Hugs,Dorthe

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

so, so pretty!! I love Bakelite. Thanks so much for visiting our blog.

Queenie said...

What a wonderful and gorgeous collection of bracelets...hope you find the red one you've been looking for! I really enjoyed learning more about bakelite. I have a lot of old buttons, and I have wondered if any of them are bakelite....I wonder how to tell if they arem maybe I'll do some more research about that. Have a great night :)
Q~

Rebecca said...

What a cool collection-I like it that it's something you can take with you and wear-and so many great colors!

R. Neafus said...

Oooo great collection,and colors.I have a couple pieces of bakelite from my Mom.Your post made me realize I have some tiny spoons from my Grandfather and the handles are a mustard color bakelite...I'm gonna have to search around,I may be on my way to a new collection =)

bj said...

So colorful and pretty. A wonderful collection.
xo bj

By the Bluegrass said...

What a fantastic collection! And, so cool too! I just love them. The colors are wonderful. It makes me want to start a collection of them.
xo,
Sena

Mandy said...

Fantastic collection!!! Seven, huh?....oh man, I have a LOT of collections!!! Your posts are always great, love these bracelets!

Curtains In My Tree said...

you have a great assortment of bakelite bracelets love them all. These today at jewelry shows are up in the hundreds of dollars$$$$$$$$$ each

I bought a book on BAKELITE and just drool looking at it

I have a yellow one on today the only one I have. I have loved braclets since I was about 9 years old