Tuesday, June 15, 2010

what is Bakelite and why is it so valubale in costume jewerly

BAEKELAND, Leo Hendrik
"The Father of Plastics"

BAKELITE-polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride,WOW HOLY COW I didn't know that!!! One of our FIRST plastics.

It will not burn. It will not melt.

... was written on the front page of the Time-Magazine in September 1924.

Bakelite is a castable, fire resistant plastic that was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1909. It was originally used for industrial purposes, until jewelry makers found that its light weight made Bakelite perfect for manufacturing inexpensive bracelets, rings, pins, and other items. It can be carved into different shapes and colors can be mixed to create interesting color combination's.

Dr. Baekeland had originally set out to find a replacement for shellac (made from the excretion of lac beetles).


A set of Mahjong tiles will usually differ from place to place. It usually has at least 136 tiles, most commonly 144.JEWELERY artists love to make bracelets and necklaces from these antique game pieces. I love them. OOAK (one of a kind) and very fashionable.

are tiles of Chinese origin that are used to play many games, most notably Mahjong and Mahjong solitaire


LOOK OUT FOR what Bakelite is not, these two buttons were sold as Bakelite however they are not, I have tested them and they do not test positive. However they are a great example of wonderful celluloid.

how to test if it is Bakelite or not

Ever wonder how to test if Bakelite is real or not?
Method #1: Some Bakelite collectors recommend the 409 Test. Here's how to do it:

1. Dip a cotton swab in 409 household cleaner and touch a small area of the piece, such as a back that won't be visible when worn.

2. If the piece is vintage Bakelite, the accumulated patina will show up as a yellow stain on the cotton swab.

3. Rinse the cleaner off the tested spot right away.

Method #2: Some collectors recommend you place the jewelry in hot water, then remove and sniff. Warmed Bakelite smells like camphor.

you can also use SIMICHROME POLISH,
(which is what I prefer to use)
A reputable antique dealer told me this trick and it is full proof. It is full proof , the knives leave a yellow color on the paper towel while these buttons do not.

Many wonderful and earthy colors from red, greens, butterscotch, and brown. The bangles and other Bakelite jewelery does not go cheap. Learn to recognize it, and maybe at some yard sale or estate sale you may be able to pick it up for a song. On line and in Boutiques it sells for its value. It has kept its collectiblity and value over the years.

I love all vintage plastic. Remember it comes ultimately from oil. It is like a resin, to me it allways reminded me of amber another favorite of mine.

references: jewelry.about.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What is a pave setting? Funny name simple explanation

I have come across the term Pave setting in looking for vintage jewelry and really had no idea what it is, I figured I am not alone. It is a setting for small stones/rhinestones or even diamonds where h the stones are set so closely together that no metal shows. A pavé surface appears to be paved with stones. Think of pavement of stones when you see the term pave. Something like the image I have here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

what is celluloid jewerly?

I have always favored vintage plastic jewerly and have been intriged with bakelite and others but celluloid is truly capitaving. Many times it is carved as showen in the above photo. This is one way of idnetifing this chariming plastic.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) Tells us that Celluloid (n.) is
a " substance composed essentially of gun cotton and camphor, and when pure resembling ivory in texture and color, but variously colored to imitate coral, tortoise shell, amber, malachite, etc. It is used in the manufacture of jewelry and many small articles, as combs, brushes, collars, and cuffs; -- originally called xylonite."

I learned that celluloid was one of the first plastics used for jewelry. This is a PLANT FIBER ! A natural product that was developed in the 1850s in England.

Later, John Wesley Hyatt commercialized the use of celluloid. The use of this material in vintage jewelry is quite old dating to about 1900.

Popular as a material during the Art Deco period which is from 1920-1935, it was made into all kinds of useful things , such as hair combs and clips.

Highly carved designs were often found on celluloid jewelry pieces, ( as the above photo shows) and flowers and leaves were commonly seen.

"One of the biggest uses of celluloid in vintage jewelry was to make brooches and dress clips, especially during the early 20th century. Celluloid looks similar to some other vintage plastics, but it differs in many ways. It is generally much thinner and lighter than bakelite. It is also much more brittle and can crack when exposed to high heat temperatures - sometimes even being flammable. Even though it can be brittle, it can still be twisted or bent into shape quite easily.

To test a piece of jewelry to see if it is celluloid, hold the item under hot water. it will smell like camphor or vinegar. Never use a hot pin test on celluloid because of the flammability factor." (Today's Vintage Jewelry Word - Celluloid )

What is MONET jewelry and how do I collect it?

Funky Findz sure never knew that Liz Claborne bought Monet!! Did you? If you would like to purchase this great Monet pin valued at over $45.oo now on Sale just check our our on line store..
Monet jewelry was first manufactured in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1929 by the Chernow Brothers. Their company, called Monocraft, produced excellent pieces of inexpensive costume jewelry. Vintage Monet jewelry ranges from pieces made in the 1930s through the 1960s. In 2000, Liz Claiborne bought the Monet jewelry line, and the company still offers pieces today.

Look for gold and silver plated pieces of jewelry. Monet Jewelry was one of the first lines to offer gold plated jewelry as an inexpensive option for women.

Step 2Know the difference between earlier and later Monet jewelry pieces. For example, 1950s pieces feature charm bracelets with poodle figurines, while bracelets of the 1960s are large bangles made of gold tone metal or Lucite.

Step 3Seek out classic Monet necklaces from the 1930s and 1940s, which have art moderne designs of straight edges and open metalwork.

Step 4Keep an eye out for unusual jewelry pieces made by Monet, such as filigree pitchers and ornate fur clips.

Step 5Confirm a genuine vintage Monet piece by looking for the Monet trademark, found on all pieces of jewelry manufactured after 1955.From e-how

If you are looking for modern and current Monet jewerly check out this link http://monetjewelry.com/

What is Aurora borealis Rhinestone and about the swarovski crystal?

If you love this pin it can be purchase at our on line store
Funky findz loves vintage Rhinestones and crystals. Here is a little more info on these precious gems.

Originally it comes from a Latin word meaning the northern lights.It means iridescence in many vintage costume jewelry descriptions. The term is most commonly used in reference to crystals, rhinestone, or synthetic stones that are iridescent. I think of them as fairy wings. They reflect so many different colors in the light. Also we tend to think of the lights of the north, from which I live, and have observed, they are beautiful and which are filled with many colors. They are magic.

My family comes from Austria, my mother is first generation and I did not know this little fact. I know however, that I love and have always loved fine crystals and the finest in the land are from the SWAROVSKI. A term we have all heard I learned that they are lead crystals that are faceted with a glass cutting machine.They have a pretty and unforgettable sparkle. Allot like diamonds!And this process was invented by Swarovski in Austria!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What does wise geek say about Rhinestones?

Wise geek tells us his view on Rhinestones:

All that glitters is not gold--sometimes it's rhinestones. They shimmer, sparkle and dance in the light, and they are nothing more than faceted bits of glass.

The original rhinestones were rock crystals that were plucked from the shores of the Rhine River in Austria, hence the name. But, as the sources of genuine rhinestones became depleted, resourceful jewelers sought techniques to duplicate the look of the original rhinestones.

In the latter part of the 1770s, a French jeweler by the name of George Frederic Stras came up with the idea of metal-coating the backs of clear crystals, which would force reflection from the backing out through the stone. That method created rhinestones as we know them today. An advancement by Daniel Swarovski in the technique of cutting crystals to mimic the facets of gemstones more than a century later, enabled rhinestones to be produced en masse, and the popularity of rhinestones soared.

The popularity of the rhinestone hit its heyday during the modern era between 1945 and 1960 when fine quality jewelers invested their talents in the making of fine rhinestone pieces. Fashion designers spangled the majority of eveningwear (and much daywear) with fun and flirty rhinestone detail. High-end clothing decorated with rhinestones, and signature rhinestone jewelry pieces, have become a hot commodity in the antiques and collectibles market.

Today's crystal rhinestones are still mostly manufactured in Austria, with the Czech Republic a close second. Rhinestones made from acrylic are manufactured in many countries. Regardless of where your rhinestones were produced, you will need to handle them carefully to guard against damage. While storing your rhinestones, never place them face-to-face because they will easily scratch; always store them separately or place tissue between the rhinestone pieces.

To clean your rhinestones, carefully apply a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Water should be avoided as it will tarnish the foil backing.

What gives Rhinestones there brillance?

Seems the addtion of lead is a large factor. And the number of cuts or facets.

"Rhinestones are made of glass. Fine rhinestones have lead added to the glass to produce Lead Crystal, far more light reflective than glass. Preciosa MC and Swarovski are made of Lead Crystal. Korean and Czech Extra Grade of made of glass and are less bright than either Preciosa MC or Swarovski. All Point Back rhinestones are of Lead Crystal. Such as these Swarovski Crystals show."

Flat Back rhinestones are made of : Lead Crystal, Glass, or Acrylic. (Please note: There is NO acrylic stone that is as bright as glass, and there is no glass rhinestone that is as bright as Lead Crystal.

Rhinestone Brilliance is derived from: Type of glass used (Lead Crystal is far more bright than glass) and the Cut of the rhinestone.

The CUT of the rhinestone greatly influences its brilliance! Purchase the rhinestone with cut in mind. Rhinestones with more facets will glimmer more than those cut with fewer facets, AND rhinestones cut with fewer facets will flash more than those cut with a higher number of facets.

We have found the perfect compromise to be 8-12 facets around the table (table is the flat top of the rhinestone). When more facets are added to the rhinestone, the reflected light is broken into more and more pieces, therefore each piece of reflected light is smaller. Understand that up close, the more facets a rhinestone has, the better it will look to your eye. BUT! The real test of a rhinestone is at a distance of intended viewing

Costumers design outfits that are showing at distances of greater than 4 feet. Here, in all cases, the 8-12 facet rhinestone will be superior in effect to rhinestones of higher cut facets.

Pretty pins!