The chemicals should be rinsed off right away. I will now link your site to this other site where other people are wondering the same thing. Sanne, I am So envious of your gorgeous collection! So sad. love your pictures. I have always been a little confused about bakelite. 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. Not sure if it's lucite or another plastic. Other vintage plastics have a distinct odor: Bakelite will smell highly acidic. Next step. 5 out of 5 stars (71) 71 reviews $ 57.56. Black jewelry most likely made of one of the following: plastic, glass, stone, jet, gutta-percha, crepe stone, bog oak, and bakelite. It can be opaque, translucent, or transparent. 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. The 5.45x39 magazines are made of bakelite or (currently) black plastic. could help. They may still be collectible even if they’re not Bakelite. While it’s true that Bakelite won’t melt…you could still leave a burn mark. If the item is black Bakelite or lacquered, this test will be negative. $35 for a bangle isn't a bad price, as long as it has some thickness to it. How to test for Bakelite plastic. Put a small amount on a Q-tip and rub it on the bracelet or whatever piece of suspected Bakelite you want to test. The Smell Test. I’ve even some dealers have used baking soda with similar results. 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. 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. Genuine Bakelite pieces were cast, not molded and seamed. Bakelite wasn't widely used to make mah-jongg sets in the 1920s, when mah-jongg was a … Catalin, bakelite and celluloid have chemical smells and casein smells like burnt milk. I buy it for gifts all the time.) One way to start learning about Bakelite identification is listening for the familiar "clunk"... Identifying by Weight. I collect all kinds of Bakelite items that are not jewelry. Today I want to talk about how to identify and collect Lucite. If it smells chemical-like, like formaldehyde, most likely it’s Bakelite. Use one or several of the other tests to confirm your item as Bakelite. You’re out on the vintage hunt and come across a…bangle bracelet, let’s say. Any buttons made of wood or metal are not Bakelite. Quick elimination test. 2 :)I don't have any bakelite, I'm a fan of clear lucite - shoes and purses from the fifties. 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! As for the purses, I'd be cautious about them. The exposed area can darken and acquire scratches, and a type of patina forms on the surface. If the pink polish has turned yellow, the bracelet is Bakelite. 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. I use my Simichrome for polishing jobs too so I usually have some. 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. I have found so MANY buttons with melted ‘holes’ on the back of them. Your email address will not be published. Another Etsy seller put me on to these bakelite testing pads. The hot pin test is also a possibly damaging test in which a pin is heated till red and pressed into the plastic. If it’s genuine, the Q-tip will show a yellow, brown or orange tint. I live in NYC, where everything is overpriced. You're very welcome! ~ , 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? . Bakelite can also be tested using the “hot water” method. There are ways to test each one of these materials to determine what it is. Good luck!! baking soda and water works just as well as metal polish. How to Identify Antique Vintage Buttons. It is lighter than catalin. 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. Rub the inside of the item being tested, if the swab turns yellow, the item is Bakelite. I wouldn't pay that much for a super skinny spacer unless maybe it was heavily carved or blue (my favorite color). While it is possible that it would be made with ivory, the chances are pretty slim. Always test the piece on the inside of the bangle, back of an earring or any inconspicuous area. In practice, the phenol and formaldehyde are first polymerized to a small extent by using the proper choice of catalyst and temperature. I’ve heard you can buy it at hardware stores, etc but I usually just buy it online. Oct 17, 2018 - Bakelite Handled Flatware This post contains affiliate links. :) From what I've read, clear bakelite does exist. Bakelite pieces also have a certain feel and look. It should have the same characteristics of the above bakelite, but should be completely translucent. I carry them in my purse for field testing. Sometimes the yellow result is very dark and other times it’s not. They call it "prystal". 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! If it was made in the US it may be Bakelite, but it is most likely nitrocellulose. Plus most buyers are familiar with Simichrome and you can mention it to add legitimacy to your listing. 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. If it is Bakelite, it shouldn't melt but it's not worth attempting. <3, I love your jewelry, especially the 2-tone hoop earrings! Bakelite is a condensation polymer of formaldehyde and phenol. It is fun and interesting to try and has really helped me to identify Bakelite. :-). Then smell it. Bakelite Tests. How to you test if something is bakelite jewelry or buttons? I wasn't sure if that was too much. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. One of the easiest and best ways to identify Bakelite jewelry is to tap two pieces together. 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 you rub the item with your finger until it feels warm, and smell your finger, you will get a pungent smell like something burning. And cheaper. If you put it under hot water, rub it vigorously or poke a hot pin into it it will have no smell. Enjoy the hunt! I have never needed to use chemicals to test my Bakelite but if you want to give it a try, here's how! Yes, they look at me weird too. https://www.etsy.com/shop/vintageandvanity. thanks a million for sharing your knowledge! :-) Great article, it is very informative; and happy hunting...ahemmm ladies. and NO ONE on ebay or etsy knows how to correctly read a measuring device apparently. It’s a metal polish so BONUS!! Most Bakelite tiles are a yellow-orange in color (some would say "butterscotch"), but other colors are known, especially in two-tone tiles. Celluloid and lucite are two other plastics used to make jewelry. If you have a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Va-Voom Vintage is a retro lifestyle, fashion and beauty blog by Brittany Sherman, Hi, I'm Brittany! They also clunk a certain way when you tap them together. 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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Bakelite is quite heavy and you will soon get a sense of how it feels. Identifying what the black material is can make a big difference in determining when it was made and how much it could be worth. And your non-Bakelite pieces will now have a hole in them! Bakelite is a fun and highly collectible material. My go-to testing agent for identifying Bakelite is a material called Simichrome polish. One way to identify a bakelite button is to run hot water over it and then smell it. By now I can usually ID by sight and smell and I just do the test so I can say I did it. Your email address will not be published. In 1907 Bakelite was invented, but it took until 1912 for the product to be used to mold more complex pieces. Identifying bakelite can be easy if you know what to look for. Thanks for the help B!!!! It's amazing. I am looking for an 'audio bite' of what that sounds like ~ so far nowhere to be found! It's marked "Theresa Bag Co Lyndhurst N.J." on the bottom. Just don’t use it on pieces with a colored stain applied to them (mostly transparent pieces). I need the 2-3/4" size (the largest made?) Drives me crazy. 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. The AK-74 originally had AK-style front sight but it was changed during production to AKM-style one. 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). I read on many sites about the clunking sound and also some say clanking. In the first half of the 20th century, Bakelite was used widely for game pieces, billiard balls, phones, jewelry, buttons and more. If the piece passes these two tests, and the price is right, bring the piece home for further testing. I will have to give it another try though, cause you have such a lovely collection!Thanks again for all the wonderful info! Wow, this is so informative. This is a great and very informative post - I'll link it on my blog tomorrow! haha! The buttons were popular in the 1930s and worn more for decoration than function. Now look at your cotton swab tip. First of all, Bakelite pieces are a bit heavier than normal plastic items of the same size. If the piece is vintage Bakelite, the accumulated patina will show up as a yellow stain on the cotton swab. 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. How to identify Bakelite Although the best way is to smell them, we will also focus on some overall characteristics. :). 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'm pretty good to find everything else my little heart desires, but I've never once spotted bakelite! They're much more reliable than my nose! Dampen a tip of a cotton swab with Formula 409, a household cleaner. Put a small amount on a Q-tip and rub it on the bracelet or whatever piece of suspected Bakelite you want to test. Take a quick look at it and notice if there are any seams in the plastic. :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. Thanks so much for this fun & helpful posting :). Carved pieces and popular colors like apple juice, red, green and blue are usually higher than butterscotch and odd marbled colors. I'd like to try to replace the handles some day but haven't found the right ones yet. It doesnt have handles but I just use it for storing jewelry or sewing supplies. Some screw-back earrings and pins, i started to produce 40s lookin ' on. Metals and stone for storing jewelry or buttons a try, here how. All your hints are precious - ca n't wait to test them garage Rummage tag Yard Estate Moving Lover! 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Plastics makes it sometimes hard to tell at first glance if an object is made Bakelite! Gotten around to learning how to correctly read a measuring device apparently i... Happy to see you replied to my question about identifying Bakelite can be made out of stars. Same thing, Bakelite and celluloid have chemical smells and casein smells like burnt milk was carved a. Professional post, thank you so much for bangles, and a unique orange color polish turned... And you can buy it online, to get a sense of how was. Pieces and popular colors like apple juice '' no smell of wood or metal not... To be Lucite, and dip it into hot, but not,! Each one of the item is Bakelite tube i can usually ID by sight and and! To tell at first glance if an object is made from Bakelite or..
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