Thank you for reading me! could help. I am so happy to see you replied to my question about identifying bakelite and so professionally too! Wow, this is so informative. It’s nonconductive and heat-resistant, making it ideal for use in electrical insulators and … :-). Hello I loved all of the fine info on this site,,but I have a dilemma I purchased 5 pieces of what the dealer assured me were LARGE BLACK FUR COAT BUTTONS..PURE BAKELITE I am not at all in any way an expert on this b ut I tried the 409 seems like I cannot get any results being THAT THESE ARE BLACK ARE REALLY CLUNKY LIKE YOU ADVISED..i want so much to believe that i did not get cheated on the purchase....these are old ..guessing form the tattered paper about 30 ish maybe 40's they are wonderful items SUPOER LARGE LAYERED BLACK BUTTONS..the person he acquired from had a $60 each tag on them so that kinda gives me hope... anyway I will try to get these to a reputable dealer for my assurance Kindest regards I did however manage to find several other Bakelite pieces buttons etc SOME VERY RARE CHECKERBOARD ONES ..that should at least get me some money ..Linda in fairport. Once you have a few confirmed-by-Simichrome pieces you can examine them and the identifying will get a lot easier. haha! In 1907 Bakelite was invented, but it took until 1912 for the product to be used to mold more complex pieces. I wasn't sure if that was too much. Oh and the purse was an antique mall find for $10. I collect all kinds of Bakelite items that are not jewelry. I buy it for gifts all the time.) Bakelite (pronounced with three syllables, by the way: the middle E is short, not silent) was created by Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in 1907 with industrial uses in mind. If the item is black Bakelite or lacquered, this test will be negative. Garage Rummage Tag Yard Estate Moving Sale Lover Large Tote Bag. Now, you may have heard of the hot needle test for testing Bakelite. And cheaper. I will have to give it another try though, cause you have such a lovely collection!Thanks again for all the wonderful info! I have never needed to use chemicals to test my Bakelite but if you want to give it a try, here's how! after you get to touch the piece, you can really begin the investigation. Rub the piece with your thumb until it becomes warm and give it a sniff. It’s a metal polish so BONUS!! How to you test if something is bakelite jewelry or buttons? If you're looking for Bakelite specifically, keeping a tube of Simichrome Polish with you. So sad. The hot pin test is also a possibly damaging test in which a pin is heated till red and pressed into the plastic. Military buttons are in a class by themselves, with categories for flat buttons made of lead or pewter, two-part convex buttons, and buttons produced for officers. Thanks!! Today I want to talk about how to identify and collect Lucite. I"m in the midwest US so bakelite is pretty affordable here but in the UK, I hear that a single bangle can be hundreds of dollars and up. Enjoy the hunt! The buttons were popular in the 1930s and worn more for decoration than function. Thanks for the help B!!!! Oct 17, 2018 - Bakelite Handled Flatware This post contains affiliate links. While it’s true that Bakelite won’t melt…you could still leave a burn mark. The first quick thing to look for: Bakelite will never have mold or form markings on it. Also, Simichrome is great for polishing Bakelite. $35 for a bangle isn't a bad price, as long as it has some thickness to it. Bakelite pieces also have a certain feel and look. First of all, Bakelite pieces are a bit heavier than normal plastic items of the same size. Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. Highly polished pieces feel waxy and slippery, whereas if they have been stripped of their polish pieces can feel slightly abrasive. Now look at your cotton swab tip. I show the hot water method & simichrome method. Dampen a tip of a cotton swab with Formula 409, a household cleaner. I also collect bakelite jewelry and sometimes, you find it for a very low price at the flea market (here in Germany). Perhaps, you would like to visit my etsy shop? Identifying and Cleaning Bakelite Buttons. and NO ONE on ebay or etsy knows how to correctly read a measuring device apparently. I read on many sites about the clunking sound and also some say clanking. Now, off to check all my "plastics". thanks this is the easiest and most informative answer to testing bakelite I found online so far. Bakelite can change color, with whites usually turning more cream colored for example. I wouldn't pay that much for a super skinny spacer unless maybe it was heavily carved or blue (my favorite color). Perfect!!! Please! As for the purses, I'd be cautious about them. 2 Key Difference – Bakelite vs Plastic Plastic and Bakelite are both organic polymers, having a very large molecular weight though there exists a difference between the two based on their properties and usage. Black jewelry most likely made of one of the following: plastic, glass, stone, jet, gutta-percha, crepe stone, bog oak, and bakelite. How to Identify Antique Vintage Buttons. The AK-74 originally had AK-style front sight but it was changed during production to AKM-style one. This is a great and very informative post - I'll link it on my blog tomorrow! Most, but not all, Bakelite will … Always test the piece on the inside of the bangle, back of an earring or any inconspicuous area. There are some bangles on etsy claiming to be Prystal but I haven't been brave enough to buy one yet :P I found more information on prystal bakelite here: some bakelite collectors consider the root beer (swirled amber and brown) to be prystal too. Bakelite is the one vintage item I never, ever see here in flea markets or tag sales or goodwill. I'd like to try to replace the handles some day but haven't found the right ones yet. At a flea market, estate sale, garage sale and some antique malls, I expect bakelite to be more affordable than a trade show, high end antique shop and vintage store. Happy to help!! In practice, the phenol and formaldehyde are first polymerized to a small extent by using the proper choice of catalyst and temperature. I think my favorite pear shaped brooch, which was my grandma's, may be bakelite, I'm going to get some 409 to test it. Collectors sometimes use the hot water method to test for authentic Bakelite (dip in hot water, rub and test for the smell of formaldehyde) or the 409 method (just a touch of Formula 409 cleaner or Simichrome brand polish on a cotton swab on a hidden area and the swab should turn yellow; rinse the item immediately). One of the keys to identifying original Bakelite is to understand how it was manufactured. If the pink polish has turned yellow, the bracelet is Bakelite. The $40 one was an online purchase because it was carved and a unique orange color. Catalin, bakelite and celluloid have chemical smells and casein smells like burnt milk. Continue to hold the piece of jewelry in the hot water for 30 seconds. It's amazing. It should have the smell of formaldehyde. DecoJewelsandMore. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. By now I can usually ID by sight and smell and I just do the test so I can say I did it. I can't tell you how many I've purchased that were stated to be 2-3/4" diameter on the inside but when arrived were only 2-5/8. Take the piece of jewelry believed to be Lucite, and dip it into hot, but not boiling, water. Try to rub the bracelet with your thumb until an area warms up. The 5.45x39 magazines are made of bakelite or (currently) black plastic. Identifying bakelite can be easy if you know what to look for. I carry a tube of Simichrome with me when I'm at the flea market so I'm always ready to test a hidden treasure. I use my Simichrome for polishing jobs too so I usually have some. Use one or several of the other tests to confirm your item as Bakelite. I have a number of pieces that could be Bakelite but haven’t gotten around to learning how to test them. And your non-Bakelite pieces will now have a hole in them! My go-to testing agent for identifying Bakelite is a material called Simichrome polish. It doesnt have handles but I just use it for storing jewelry or sewing supplies. . 1960s big daisy Hippie pierced earrings. Bakelite is the first synthetic plastic and is known as a “material of thousand uses” due to its versatile applications. In the first half of the 20th century, Bakelite was used widely for game pieces, billiard balls, phones, jewelry, buttons and more. However there are a few fairly simple ways of determining whether your chunky bangle bracelet, button collection or vintage flatware is made up of this gorgeous early plastic. If it’s genuine, the Q-tip will show a yellow, brown or orange tint. Most Bakelite tiles are a yellow-orange in color (some would say "butterscotch"), but other colors are known, especially in two-tone tiles. I don't think so, but I've seen clear purses being called bakelite on the internet.You can see my lucite shoes here: lucite purses here, if you like: think I'll make Pinterest boards for these pages too.And your clear purse - tell us more about it? Thank-you for this very informative guide. The Smell Test. Although sellers want us to think that Bakelite is so rare and amazing, it really isn't rare at all. I prefer to use the polish because it’s a small tube I can just keep by my desk. Rub the inside of the item being tested, if the swab turns yellow, the item is Bakelite. After trying the above tests, it should be conclusive weather or not you have a genuine piece of Bakelite. Awesome guide!I make my own Bakelite jewelry (with old Bakelite bits) and I want to ask if you know why the black Bakelite takes a while longer to "get smelly" and why it doesn't pass the Simichrome test.I've tried to get an answer in my books about Bakelite jewelry but without luck. Welcome to Va-Voom Vintage, Pins for Pin-Ups: DIY Brooches for Retro Girls, Free Pattern: 1940s Yoked Slip-On Sweater, Va-Voom Vintage | Vintage Fashion, Hair Tutorials and DIY Style, Bakelite bracelets, a hair brush, buckles and carved button, two-sided Bakelite earrings, which do have seams. I live in NYC, where everything is overpriced. Another Etsy seller put me on to these bakelite testing pads. For the love of all that’s vintage, please don’t do this! Run the piece under hot tap water. There are also plastic/bakelite made for 7,62x39 AK rifles, but the 5.45x39 have different shape. You can identify from the sound whether the piece you are buying is original or not. :-) (Of course the jewelry is pretty cool. Thanks for this post. Some say they smell like cod liver oil or have a sweet chemical smell. Any buttons made of wood or metal are not Bakelite. ~ , I have some spacers( pass smell test-cant get simichrome in Canada) that I hear a clunking with but would really like to have an idea of real bakelite sound when I'm out and about.. Would you consider doing an audio bite? valuable plastic jewelry. They can resemble Bakelite, but Bakelite items of the same size are heavier. I've been a collector of Bakelite for a few years and I love 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. Maybe you could share whats too much for bangles, earrings, brooches, etc.Thank you! Bakelite is quite heavy and you will soon get a sense of how it feels. I’m listing a set of steak knives that someone else has listed as Bakelite but I would not call them that without knowing for sure. :-) Great article, it is very informative; and happy hunting...ahemmm ladies. Your email address will not be published. Bakelite is the trade name for the plastic product produced by the Bakelite Corporation, but materials made using the same formula were eventually sold under other trade names in the US and around the world. If it is Lucite, it will have no discernable scent. TIP: If you don’t have any Simichrome polish yet (I do recommend picking some up) then I’ve heard the plain Formula 409 works in the same way. They must think I'm crazy but I do it anyway :P. I've given up buying bakelite bangles online. Remove the piece of jewelry from the water and smell it. What about us guys who love Bakelite items that aren't jewelry. Good luck!! Sometimes the piece needs cleaning before you can test. I’ve even some dealers have used baking soda with similar results. It is lighter than catalin. Thanks, Shannon. Sanne, I am So envious of your gorgeous collection! They may still be collectible even if they’re not Bakelite. I think the price depends a lot on where you live, where you're shopping and the piece itself. In other words, to get a dog pin, you'd pour plastic into a dog-shaped mold. They also clunk a certain way when you tap them together. Bakelite or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride was the first plastic made from synthetic components. Bakelite is a condensation polymer of formaldehyde and phenol. Plastic will show no color. It's marked "Theresa Bag Co Lyndhurst N.J." on the bottom. Identifying what the black material is can make a big difference in determining when it was made and how much it could be worth. If it smells chemical-like, like formaldehyde, most likely it’s Bakelite. I carry them in my purse for field testing. If you have a question, please email me at Thanks so much for this fun & helpful posting :). For the rub test, if you smell your thumb, it works as well as smelling the piece, but it’s less obvious what you are doing. Then smell it. :)I don't have any bakelite, I'm a fan of clear lucite - shoes and purses from the fifties. Some of the poker chips, betting chips in other forms, dominoes, Mah Jong tiles, and tons of other game pieces and utilitarian ware out there is absolutely incredible and it is all beautiful; not to mention most of the gaming pieces and accessories are extremely valuable. I think you wrote a similar post awhile back, but when I try rubbing the bangles the store clerks (Goodwill) look at me weird, so I have been too embarrassed since. So that’s it! :P. Im curious if you could maybe give estimates on what to pay for Bakelite?I was at a flea market and saw bangles priced at $35. Currently the definitive method of testing Bakelite is to put some Formula 409 on the end of a Q-tip and apply a small amount on an inconspicuous portion of the bead in question. AK-74: note different gas block, handguard, a flash hider and stock. I never pay much for my bakelite because I'm on a budget and since I live where it's cheap, I get away with not spending a fortune. In the first half of the 20th century, Bakelite was used widely for game pieces, billiard balls, phones, jewelry, buttons and more. Ivory and clear laminated French Bakelite. Thrifting, Reselling, Saving Money. Bakelite can also be tested using the “hot water” method. I have found so MANY buttons with melted ‘holes’ on the back of them. thanks a million for sharing your knowledge! Spoils of The Hunt- This One’s a Quick One. <3, I love your jewelry, especially the 2-tone hoop earrings! How to identify Bakelite Although the best way is to smell them, we will also focus on some overall characteristics. Your email address will not be published. I have definitely heard that but haven’t tried it myself. If you put it under hot water, rub it vigorously or poke a hot pin into it it will have no smell. . If it was made in the US it may be Bakelite, but it is most likely nitrocellulose. From shop DecoJewelsandMore. Not sure if it's lucite or another plastic. One of the easiest and best ways to identify Bakelite jewelry is to tap two pieces together. The chemicals should be rinsed off right away. Thank you for your time and help. They are probably lucite and the seller doesn't know much about them but you never know, there may be some bakelite purses out there! baking soda and water works just as well as metal polish. If it smells like camphor or vinegar, it is celluloid. I will now link your site to this other site where other people are wondering the same thing. Do you have any information about this? The exposed area can darken and acquire scratches, and a type of patina forms on the surface. :) From what I've read, clear bakelite does exist. But your collection is beautiful! :) x. If you rub the item with your finger until it feels warm, and smell your finger, you will get a pungent smell like something burning. Bakelite repros are being made every day - and my research has lead me to the conclusion that much (if not all) of it is being made in India. Identifying antique plastic: Lucite has a slick feel and is fairly light in weight. Bakelite is a fun and highly collectible material. I read every single comment (even on old posts) and they make my day! Va-Voom Vintage is a retro lifestyle, fashion and beauty blog by Brittany Sherman, Hi, I'm Brittany! But because i've lost some screw-back earrings and pins, i started to produce 40s lookin' jewelry on my own. It can be opaque, translucent, or transparent. If you feel a line running around the center of a bangle, it is not Bakelite. 5 out of 5 stars (71) 71 reviews $ 57.56. When I spot a bakelite color, I always run over and start rubbing and smelling the plastics at the counter. I have wanted a pair of lucite shoes for ages but I have big, wide feet and haven't found a pair to fit..yet! Just don’t use it on pieces with a colored stain applied to them (mostly transparent pieces). Genuine Bakelite pieces were cast, not molded and seamed. I scored a huge bag of necklaces from a church rummage sale this past weekend and am *hoping* there may be one or two bakelite treasures amongst the lot but my instinct tells me it's a lot of plastic, but from what I can see it's all vintage anyway and I love so much of it! I use it to polish my flatware as well. Bakelite jewelry will generally make a deep clunking sound when tapped together, unlike any other jewelry. Yes, they look at me weird too. Once you get familiar with the smell…you’ll spot it easier in the field. Put a small amount on a Q-tip and rub it on the bracelet or whatever piece of suspected Bakelite you want to test. There are ways to test each one of these materials to determine what it is. It’s always nice to test them because then you can say….’tested’ in the listing too. It is fun and interesting to try and has really helped me to identify Bakelite. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Very helpful indeed! The later development of other plastics makes it sometimes hard to tell at first glance if an object is made from Bakelite or not. At home you can run the piece under hot water (maybe not a Bakelite radio, lol) and release the ‘formaldehyde’ smell easier. Sift through your buttons to find possible Bakelite buttons. One way to identify a bakelite button is to run hot water over it and then smell it. The easiest and safest way to test to identify Bakelite is the hot water test which is as simple as it sounds. Put a small amount on a Q-tip and rub it on the bracelet or whatever piece of suspected Bakelite you want to test. Quick elimination test. The tiles are opaque, very dense and usually have fairly sharp edges. They're much more reliable than my nose! I really try to do this unobtrusively…for obvious reasons -what would you think about somebody who’s sniffing the jewelry?? Smell- the rub and sniff is my tried and true method of choice and is very handy if you don't have any chemicals around to test it. It should have the same characteristics of the above bakelite, but should be completely translucent. Simichrome polish is pink. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Required fields are marked *. Check out this website featuring random-dot like bangles, and be sure to read the cryptic description. They call it "prystal". Take a quick look at it and notice if there are any seams in the plastic. Plus it’s kind of the “standard” for testing for collectors so I’d maybe use baking soda for myself, for my own knowledge…but would probably still use Simichrome on pieces that I’d sell. If it gives off a formaldehyde smell, it is Bakelite. You're very welcome! Bakelite Test by Feel and Sound. Other vintage plastics have a distinct odor: Bakelite will smell highly acidic. There are, however, a couple of tests that, coupled with a decent working acquaintance with the product, will help you determine whether a piece is legitimate: I don't know much about lucite bags except that they're pretty! And this leads me to a question for you, the bakelite expert: does clear bakelite exist? Bakelite wasn't widely used to make mah-jongg sets in the 1920s, when mah-jongg was a … Drives me crazy. Please note that you should always ask permission before using chemicals on a dealer's goods. Sometimes the yellow result is very dark and other times it’s not. Bakelite is easy to identify because it has a slick-looking patina to the inner part of the bangle or on the back part of a brooch or piece. hello i am mohammad i live in iranI am looking to make bakeliteBut it's very difficult to make transparent color. Plus most buyers are familiar with Simichrome and you can mention it to add legitimacy to your listing. It's like everyone thinks the first notch after the "1/2" mark is 3/4! I am looking for an 'audio bite' of what that sounds like ~ so far nowhere to be found! I need the 2-3/4" size (the largest made?) If the pink polish has turned yellow, the bracelet is Bakelite. and all your hints are precious - can't wait to test my own plastics now! Antique buttons can be made out of just about anything, from antlers and bone to glass and ceramics to metals and stone. Celluloid and lucite are two other plastics used to make jewelry. My bangles range from $1-$40. I hope "F Bakelite" means "Fake". Next step. Rinse the cleaner off the tested spot right away. Now look at your cotton swab tip. The only prystal bakelite that I have come across as been the yellow "apple juice". If the piece is vintage Bakelite, the accumulated patina will show up as a yellow stain on the cotton swab. 6 Ways to Identify Bakelite Tapping Items Together. What a great post, thank you! I’ve heard you can buy it at hardware stores, etc but I usually just buy it online. How to test for Bakelite plastic. Scrubbing bubbles was once used to test Bakelite but it has been found to strip the surface of the plastic. But Most of All….On the Hunt for Vintage! The first thing to understand about testing is this: There is no test that works 100% of the time on 100% of Bakelite. While it is possible that it would be made with ivory, the chances are pretty slim. Groovy huge Bakelite, Galalith, Flower Power earrings. The later development of other plastics makes it sometimes hard to tell at first glance if an object is made from Bakelite or not. If it is Bakelite, it shouldn't melt but it's not worth attempting. :). You’re out on the vintage hunt and come across a…bangle bracelet, let’s say. What an elaborate and very professional post, thank you so much for making it. If there are, its not Bakelite. Bakelite Tests. Modern hard plastics which are often confused with Bakelite, were generally produced by injecting or pouring a liquid resin into a mold which produced the final product. If the piece passes these two tests, and the price is right, bring the piece home for further testing. Carved pieces and popular colors like apple juice, red, green and blue are usually higher than butterscotch and odd marbled colors. One way to start learning about Bakelite identification is listening for the familiar "clunk"... Identifying by Weight. Im sorry, I don't know anything about how to make bakelite, Best gal win? Oh you're too lovable! If you have a stash of buttons, sift through them to find potential Bakelite buttons then try a few tests to identify true Bakelite buttons.