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And now for another game of "Guess That Plastic"

Monday, February 4, 2013

 Usually I can test Bakelite easily but every once in a while a piece confuses me.




 Last summer, I found these green marbled earrings at an antique store in The Middle of Nowhere, Missouri. They sure looked like Bakelite, with that swirl, the coloring and the weight was correct.



 They earring backs are obviously old as well but my tried and true rub and sniff didn't work!  Pj and I both rubbed those things till our thumbs were numb but no smell. I have a very good nose for bakelite too but when that thick patina gets in my way, Pj never fails. At $2 I bought them anyway because they are pretty and if it looks like Bakelite, maybe it's a good fake! Who cares, right? We were on a road trip so I spent a long time clacking them together and trying to figure out what they are. The clack (more of a clink) sounded  like stone so I thought they could be a dyed stone of some kind.



Yesterday, while rummaging through plastic bins of junk jewelry at the local antique mall I found this bracelet for $1.50.


It's very thin, root beer colored and felt too light to be Bakelite but the thickness of the plastic could have played a role in that. The vertical lines in the swirl pattern is a tell tale Bakelite giveaway but again, that rub and sniff wasn't working for me. I have some Lucite pieces that also have that vertical swirl too.  I seemed to get the faint scent of formaldehyde but you always smell what you want to smell. There were no seams but the inside of the bracelet has a cross-cross ridge, like someone filed or sawed it and that really threw me off because in general, Bakelite should be smooth.



It's an oval shape, which I've seen but isn't as common as round shapes. Again, it looks like it's the real thing so I bought it and brought it home.



What do you think? Are they Bakelite or some strange plastic or stone?......


I brought them home and ran them under very hot water for about 3 minutes, gave them a whiff and you bet, they're Bakelite! That formaldehyde smell was very strong. In your adventures, if you spot a "maybe" for a song and most tests pass, go ahead and bring it home. It may be Bakelite and if it's not, you have the look for less!
 

Also on the hunt yesterday, I found this beautiful pair of brown carved Bakelite screw backs. Strangely, the seller had them labeled as Bakelite but the price was $1.75! So I thought, "Okay, crazy person, I'll take 'em!"

More on Bakelite
My Bakelite Collection
How to Identify Bakelite

13 Responses to “And now for another game of "Guess That Plastic"”

  1. Do you have simi-chrome?The last 3 Bakelte bracelets I bought I actually couldn't get a smell from rubbing them and normally always can.I was pretty sure they were though so I bought them and when I got them home and tested them with simi-chrome they all tested positive.

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  2. And the bracelet if that doesn't pass for bakelite and because you said it was light it could also be lucite which is also high quality plastic that doesn't have a seam.

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  3. Crazy person indeed!! Great finds!

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  4. Wow, $1.75 for something labelled Bakelite that truly is is amazing in this day and age. Awesome find! I really like all of these great vintage pieces, no matter what they're made from.

    ♥ Jessica

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  5. Hahah omg they are crazy to sell them for that but who cares-yeah for you and your wallet! Whoot! xox

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  6. Love the leaf pattern in the last pair, and the color!


    Marie @
    Lemondrop ViNtAge

    I am having a fabulous giveaway right here.

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  7. Fun finds!!! Questionable or not, if the price is right I'll bring it home with me. My thinking is pretty similar- even if it's not the real deal it's exactly the look I want at a fraction of the real deal price. And if it does turn out to be the real thing, then I can feel extremely accomplished in finding the deal of the day.

    This past summer I bought a pair of red carved earrings similar to your brown ones from yet another highly confusing person. She had plenty of other higher priced items but was only asking 75 cents for the earrings. Oh well, they're mine now! :)

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  8. Those are some seriously amazing finds! Very cool!

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

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  9. Great finds, I have a bakelite necklace that first smelled when I did the rub test but doesn't anymore?

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  10. Such great finds! I love finding awesome jewelry at a great price.

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  11. I have a bangle like that one that has rhinestones on it. I haven't tested it yet but probably should. I buy things all the time that look like Bakelite but aren't. If the price is right then I really don't care!!

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  12. Wow, I had no idea about those tests but I do love some bakelite just as much as the next vintage girl. I love swooping up great finds for steals. It make me feel like a super fashionable thief.

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  13. I've gathered quite a lot of fakelite... of course I'd love to have the real deal, but sometimes you can't even visibly see the difference. I'll try the hot water trick sometime!

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