Friday, June 4, 2010

Today's Jewelry Word: Fakelite

One of the hottest collecting areas of the vintage jewelry word is bakelite jewelry. True bakelite is a vintage product which lends itself to lovely carved bracelets. But, as in all things collectible, the buyer must beware, since there are many "pretenders" out there. One of them is called fakelite.

Fakelite is a term for a modern, mass produced product, which is neither true bakelite or a vintage material. It is sometimes also referred to as French Bakelite, although French Bakelite is often identified by these words too.

The term seems to have first appeared in the mid to late 1980s when old bakelite pieces were being reworked into jewelry pieces and made to imitate vintage bakelite. The content of these was genuine, but the age of the pieces was not. However, the term now refers to items which are intentionally being represented as genuine bakelite.

The true bakelite era in vintage jewelry was roughly the years between the two world wars. Collectors should be particularly aware that items being sold as vintage bakelite may be the genuine article, a reworked piece, modern French Bakelite, or modern, mass produced items intended to defraud. As always, buyer beware!

For more information on vintage bakelite, please refer to our detailed article resource article on bakelite and catalin identification and testing methods. Testing is the only thing that will tell you if your article is genuine bakelite, although it will still not tell you if the piece is vintage.

Examples of Fakelite:

All fakelite photos are courtesy of Gale's Bakelite Guide

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