Vintage Bling: My Growing Collection of Bracelets

Ooooh, sparkly.

I like wearing jewelry, but rarely wear any for practical reasons. A few years ago I developed an allergy to nickel, so I couldn’t wear fake necklaces, bracelets, earrings or anything else.

Garnet pendant that I used to wear all the time.

I have a sterling silver garnet locket from high school that I wear all the time, but jewelry isn’t allowed on the mat at jiu jitsu or arnis, so I know when it’s a day that I need to try to get to class I often will not wear any jewelry. Having to remove and stow away jewelry when not at home is a potential recipe for getting jewelry misplaced or lost. I’ve misplaced many earrings like this, or have had them get caught in my hair, blouse, etc, that I don’t bother to wear earrings anymore.

In my punk/goth days I used to wear a leather cuff pretty often, and that worked well since it was too large to misplace and I wasn’t allergic to leather, but since going vintage I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement: something that is sturdy, something I’m not allergic to, and something that doesn’t look small enough to misplace or lose easily.

This brings me to today’s post about my recent acquisitions: faux vintage lucite and faux bakelite bracelets.

Reverse-Carved Fish Bangle.
(Source: Bakelite Boutique)

Lucite is a resin created by DuPont in 1937. DuPont widely licensed Lucite for use in jewelry because it was inexpensive and easy to work with in carving, inlays, etc. Like Bakelite, Lucite could be manufactured in most any color and can run from opaque to transparent. Lucite was particularly popular from about 1940 to 1953, but it is still produced and widely used today. Imbedded Lucite made during this period by incorporating glitter, rhinestones, sea shells, and other materials was widely used in hard sided purses which are actively collected today.

Bakelite, the real deal.
(Source: Bakelite Boutique)

Bakelite is also a plastic, invented by Leo Bakeland in the early 1900s. The material was originally intended for industrial uses, but jewelry-makers soon found that they could make pretty, inexpensive jewelry out of it. Bakelite pieces today are very collectible, especially hand-carved, intricate bangles.

I have nothing against the real versions, but due to my practical (Can’t help it if I’m poor!) budget, I can’t afford them yet. These pieces are also plastic and can be easily imitated, but good imitations are hard to find. I did find some good-looking bracelets recently.

Fakelite butterscotch bracelet. Unique amber/mustard color.

Fakelite cherry bracelets. The red is light and clear, and I have no idea if they even had gradients like this back then, but I like how they look together.

Faux granite lucite, with an interesting crackle pattern. In real life it looks like shattered/cracked glass.

Granite lucite is normally opaque, with ‘chunks’ or bits of lucite in varying colors that emulate the look of granite – but in a wide variety of colors.

The rest of these are faux confetti lucite. Confetti Lucite encompasses a wide range of variations, all basically a transparent form of lucite with chips or glitter encased.

Left to right: faux granite lucite, champagne clear lucite with gold glitter, rose clear lucite with gold glitter.

Left to right: Different views of the champagne clear lucite with gold glitter, rose clear lucite with gold glitter, deep plum with gold glitter. All of these have some rope-like carved texture to them.

Left to right: Different views of the champagne clear lucite with gold glitter, rose clear lucite with gold glitter, deep plum with gold glitter. All of these have some rope-like carved texture to them.

Left to right: Faceted black lucite with gold glitter, faceted champagne lucite with silver glitter.

I really like the stacked bracelets look.

I know I should be more careful with my preciousssses, but I’m pretty clumsy. I just dropped one of the bracelets on my bathroom floor while I was putting these away and it survived intact. Another sign that these are the vintage upgrade from durable leather cuffs.