Between 1907 and 1909, Dr. Leo H. Baekeland was conducting experiments to create a varnish. He was using phenol and formaldehyde, generally with a wood flour filler, and put the mixture under heat and pressure. He accidentally discovered bakelite. It was the first plastic made from synthetic polymers.
As costume jewelry, bakelite had its biggest boom in the 1930's during the Great Depression. It was used to imitate tortoiseshell, coral, amber, ivory and other costly materials. It was attractive to all levels of incomes, including the very rich.
This eye-catching pair of earrings, circa 1930's, consists of a #5 and #6 die. Each aged, tan colored bakelite die. with black painted dots, is mounted on a lacey, silver-tone backing with clip-style closure. The earrings measure 1 1/8" square, with the die measuring 3/4" square. Just imagine wearing this set on your next outing to your favorite casino, party, or in fact, anywhere. Wonderful vintage condition with no damages. Unmarked as to maker.
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