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The best way to recognize bakelite comes with experience. After you’ve seen enough pieces you will easily recognize it. There are also some excellent books on market that you might find helpful. • BAKELITE JEWELRY - Tony Grasso • THE BEST OF BAKELITE AND OTHER PALSTIC JEWELRY - Dee Battle & Alayne Lesser • BAKELITE JEWELRY GOOD*BETTER*BEST - Donna Wassertrom & Leslie Pina
Bakelite has always been known as material with 1000 uses, and it surely did earn this name. Bakelite is now treasured for its unique, unreproducible beauty. When Bakelite patent expired in 1927, it was acquired by Catalin Corporation that same year. They began mass production under name "Catalin. The Catalin Corporation was responsible for nearly 70% of all phenolic resins that exist today.
Bakelite-Catalin was sold mainly to companies like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, Woolworth’s, and Sears. Much of wealthy society fell into touch times during depression and could not longer afford Tiffany diamonds or Cartier Jewelry. Bakelite-Catalin took up market slack with its colorful carved jewelry adorned with rhinestones. This jewelry was within reach of all and its popularity grew from poorest to wealthiest in society.
In 1942 Bakelite-Catalin stopped sales of their colorful costume jewelry in order to concentrate on nation’s wartime needs. They produced thousands of products found their way into military.
By end of war new technologies were for molded plastics had been developed. These new products consisted of plastics such as Lucite, Fiberglass, Vinyl, and Acrylic all which were molded. Bakelite and Catalin become obsolete except in hearts of collectors who still pursue it today.
© Copyright Sher Matsen, All Rights Reserved.
About the author: Sher has been serving customers for over 20 years, providing affordable estate jewelry, and a wealth of information on jewelry, fashion, designers, and beauty with on staff industry professionals. Please visit us at Estate Jewelry International.