Bakelite was developed in the early 1900s, and by the 1930s, was being used for jewelry by major designers, often in the Art Deco style. Bakelite was needed for the war effort in the 1940s, so the jewelry wasn’t made then. About 1997, the Deco jewelry was rediscovered by collectors. Books were published with information and color pictures and prices skyrocketed. Bracelets with set-in dots were selling for $300 to $1,000, small pins were $75 to $300, and carved bracelets were about $500. The plastic jewelry is not selling well now, but those who bought in the 1990s are older and “decluttering.” A recent Morphy auction had more than 100 lots of Bakelite jewelry with about 50 that were groups, so there were about 600 pieces (yes, I counted the pieces) in the sale. They sold for $43,000, for an average price of $70.



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