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 fabulous designer necklace, circa 1950's, will add variety to your jewelry wardrobe and envious glances when worn. The focus of attention is the large colorful bakelite floral plaque, measuring 3 3/4" in length and 2 5/8" in width, that is designed to be worn on the side of the neck. The piece set in a mounting of ivory bakelite is a floral array of faux mother-of-pearl in shades of pink, lilac, green and black. Attached to this plaque are three-strands of black beads forming the bib section of the necklace. Opposite the plaque these three strands merge into a single strand of first silver-tone, faux pearl and mop beads and then continues with black beads. Above the bakelite plaque a single-strand of black beads complete the necklace. The necklace has a silver-tone, oval push-in clasp. The inside strand of the necklace measures approximately 28" in length. Great vintage condition with no damages. There is no makers mark on this piece.
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