How To Find Vintage Bakelite Statement Pieces

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Rows of statement bangles and large necklaces seem to have made yet another return this season. I found the above Bakelite bracelet while looking for vintage beads. It's hard to see in the picture but it's actually a unique oval shape and has fire marbling. These chunky pieces have incredible color and detail that makes them an almost one-of-a-kind sort of gift. Here's what to look for and the sort of tests you will need to do to determine if it is truly a Bakelite piece you've just discovered:

Hold the piece under hot water and then take a whiff. If it emits a formaldehyde like smell you're on to something. This test is very tricky though. I have a really good sense of smell and have always been on the fence as to what if anything that I was smelling. The 409 test has always been much more reliable.

Using a Q-tip, soak it in some 409 cleaner and gently rub it on a spot that won't be seen just in case. If it is a real piece of Bakelite the Q-tip will take on a yellowish hue no matter what the original color of the Bakelite is.

When you pick up a potential Bakelite piece be sure to pay attention to its weight as it should be heavy, unlike other similar plastics Lucite and Celluloid. It should also make a clunky should when you tap it together (almost like waxy ice cubes).

Be on the lookout for Bakelite bracelets, necklaces, handbags and clutches in banana yellow, hot orange and cherry reds for the most bang for your buck. Give it: Stack a few bangles on the neck of a bottle of Bugalu and away you go to that party!

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