my beautiful collection dearly but I don't think I'd wear it at all if it weren't affordable in my neck of the woods.
Although sellers want us to think that Bakelite is so rare and amazing, it really isn't rare at all. Go to a vintage show, scroll through Ebay, look at the collections of hundreds, thousands of bangles and tell me it's rare. It's everywhere and there's a lot of it! The price of Bakelite is like the price of diamonds. It goes up because the desire goes up. We all want to be the girl with Bakelite stacked to her elbows. It's a status symbol. Why? Because our vintage community created it!
The Lucite Secret
I think that the best kept vintage secret out there is Lucite. But wait, that bangle is Bakelite...isn't it?
I recently bought a lot of 6 Lucite bangles on ebay and even my skilled eye wondered if they could be Bakelite, especially the carved one but no! They're Lucite- 6 for $30.
some are swirled or translucent just like applejuice or rootbeer bakelite
some look like those very expensive dotted bakelite bracelets
With Lucite, you can get the look of colorful, unique Bakelite bangles for much less. Lucite comes in all colors, shapes, sizes and some are even embedded with shells, glitter and confetti.
Some other desirable Lucite pieces are called "Moonglow" because they look like they're glowing, like these earrings:
The price of Lucite clamper bracelets like this one are quickly rising due to demand created by lusty vintage girls. Honestly, mine drives me crazy because it pinches (and I have small wrists!) and I've had to have Pj fix the spring dozens of times after it breaks. It's very pretty so I save it for special occasions only.
Here's an example of solid Lucite, which was frequently shaped and added to metal settings of earrings, bracelets, brooches and necklaces. Matching sets of Lucite are much loved in the vintage world.
Lucite doesn't patina like Bakelite so you never have to pay extra to have it polished to get the vibrant or translucent rainbow of colors. They're quite heavy and durable. Some are marbled just like Bakelite and some have a gorgeous iridescence like these bangles.
Any vintage loving girl can build an enviable collection of Lucite bangles and still pay her electric bill.
What is Lucite
Like Bakelite, Lucite is a thermoset plastic. Some people sell Lucite jewelry with kind of a moon glow sheen and call it "Thermoset", like these earrings:
In my early days of vintage I thought that thermoset was different from Lucite but it is actually the same thing. Thermoset simply means that you cannot melt it down and shape it into something else once it's set.
Lucite is an acrylic plastic that was popular in jewelry in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Most vintage Lucite bangles will not have seams. They are usually shinier than Bakelite and will not smell of formaldehyde when run under hot water and unless someone is sniffing your wrist, they'll never know it's not pricey Bakelite!
With holiday sales going crazy this weekend, keep an eye out for affordable Lucite treats for yourself.
How to Identify Bakelite
How to Make a Lucite Initial Brooch
For more vintage Lucite, check my Pinterest board, Lucite Dreams
Do you collect Lucite? If so, please post a link to your lovely collection in the comments below!