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 beautiful pendant style necklace circa, 1920's, is a lovely subdued shade of red. Composed of a wonderful oval cameo pendant featuring the profile of a turn-of-the century lady with gorgeous facial features and pulled up and back bun hair style. The 24" chain is continual with no clasp and consists of narrow, flat, 5/8" bars connected by metal, gold-tone rings and four interspersed oval beads. The cameo pedant measures 1 3/8" in length and 1" in width. Very good vintage condition with no damages to bakelite components; some of the metal rings do show corrosion and wear.
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