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Plastic Jewelry experts! Need help!

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by debutanteclothing, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. connie

    connie Alumni

    A few months earlier, we were all talking about celluoid. Someone (it might have been me, I can't remember) mentioned that celluoid stopped being made in 1934 due to safetly issues - it is highly flamable. That would date your necklace to the 20's or early 30's at the latest.

  2. debutanteclothing

    debutanteclothing VFG Member

    Hi Connie Thanks for that info. What does celluloid smell like though. That's what I am having trouble with.
  3. igotbuttons

    igotbuttons Registered Guest

    try the test I mentioned and put it in a jar all by itself for a few days. Then open the lid and take a whiff. That's the chemical smell.

  4. debutanteclothing

    debutanteclothing VFG Member

  5. just a couple more comments... a little late.

    Here's some food for thought.

    Think of the plastics industry history (going back into mid 1800s) and the volumes and varieties of composition used in accessory items: thermoset, bakelite, casein, lucite, celluloid, and on and on. A few degrees of this and a little more of that, and you basically have a new plastic type.

    The reason I bring this point up is that, personally, I hate to see items hot pin tested for the sake of trying to identify a plastic. It damages the item. Period. I know there are different schools of thought about it, but as a jewelry seller I totally disagree with defacing and item to fine-pick a composition. I cannot count the number of times I've seen a botched not pin test that put a permanent ugly little scar on something.

    There are clues and tests to easily tell bakelite. That is very important BECAUSE of the collector market.

    Some of the "lesser identifiable" plastics are easier to date from era, style, findings, surface characteristics etc. If you have a quality 1930s necklace (like your wonderful beads that started this thread) - what is most important in determining value: item? --age? style? jewelry appeal? composition? condition?

    Not that we shouldn't persue identity questions, but please take it into perspective that there are always a sea of attributes that make the item special and valuable. In the world of collectible plastic jewelry, composition is not always the key.

    Like I said... just 2cents worth.
  6. debutanteclothing

    debutanteclothing VFG Member

    Thanks Barbara. This was exactly why i was so afraid to try the hot pin test. I have never done it out of fear. I think curiosity got the best of me. I emailed a woman who deals in plastics and has written a book. I will leave her name out. She replied that she doesn't think this is celluloid but in fact Ivorene and not as old as I thought. She dates it to the 60's. Ugh! Well, like Barbara said, who cares!! They're nice!!! :USING:
  7. hws4sale

    hws4sale Registered Guest

    I'm so glad someone else said that. I hate being the bearer of bad news, but I agree with your "person, who's name you wont say" in that these are definately newer. I would even go so far as to date them at mid, to late 60's. Around the time the chunky, earthy look was popular.
    This type of plastic, came about as a substitute for Ivory, meant to lessen the desireability of imported ivory. It was introduced in the late 50's, but really didn't get much interest, other than in vanity box's and sets.
    Sorry it's not as old as you thought, but it's still a stunning necklace.
    Good luck with it.
  8. debutanteclothing

    debutanteclothing VFG Member

    I have a few reasons I kind of don't agree Paula. and maybe my thinking is totally wrong. first, the chain, it looks older than 60's. also, the clasp, i have seen only one other clasp like this and it was on a celluloid necklace. but also, the black beads. they smell the same way the white ones do. Why would they be made of Ivorene if they are black? That's why I'm torn. Oh well, researching has been fun.

  9. igotbuttons

    igotbuttons Registered Guest

    I was thinking that the clasp made the necklace a lot older than the 60's, too, but since I am not an expert I didn't say anything but now you've got 2 votes!

  10. Okay...just to play devil's advocate...a few more considerations (have not inspected it live...so have no clue...)

    When making a necklace, as we know, unless commercially mass produced in large quantities, the hardware could be older than the date it was made into a necklace ditto the beads. Actually, I take that back, because a supplier could have found a box of clasps that were from a few years ago and not quite current, and could have given a jewelry maker one heckuva deal on the remainders and they could have made 100s of necklaces with older clasps.

    That being said, i also had an early 80s necklace that i thought must be older because of the hardware. However, that was not the case. it was just that the hardware was real brass and not the composite metal that i had expected to be on an 80s plastic funky necklace and the brass had started to patina more like i would expect something older too. But then again, reminding myself that the early 80s was already 25 years ago and left in an acidic wood jewelry box or probably with cardboard backed velvet lining, the brass could have very well started to oxidize and mellow, et al.

    Also, another factor is the "chunky boho look". the fascination with the bohemian look sort of started in the 20s etc, in the last century and was not novel in the 60s, it just felt that way.

    So no official real answer here...but just that a simple strand of beads can create many questions...
  11. debutanteclothing

    debutanteclothing VFG Member

    ooooh no chris! don't come in here and confuse us more!! I am NOT having it!!!! :wacko:
  12. Quote

    "WHo cares. They are nice!!!"


    sorry sandra :)
  13. hatfeathers

    hatfeathers VFG Member

    Sorry I'm so late on this one. I've done a lot of research on plastics and found one thing for certain. A pinned item can drop in value dramatically. It causes permanent damage, and if done wrong can cause celluloid items to burst into flames!
    I think in the button trade it's not as frowned upon because it can be done on the back of the button and not destroy any of the asthetic value of the front.

    If your unnamed person was Karima Perry, then I'd go with what she said.

    This piece should sell very well in the fall pre-Christmas gift rush. Include what you do know and let the collectors decide.
    Great pics!


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