Which came first the chicken or the necklace?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by lindapoirier, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I love early plastic jewelry and I am constantly trying to find ways to recreate versions for myself that are affordable. When I first saw a 1930s celluloid necklace I was floored. I fell in love with those early celluloid chains which had any variety of charm or pendant hanging from them. Many with bakelite loops, orbs and rings.

    Finding plastic chain was relatively easy. So many sellers offer chains in small to larger sized links. What perplexed me where the spiral loops. I couldn't find a modern equivalent. I searched and searched and than one day I spotted an artisan selling their own version of the classic 30s necklaces and even carving their own bakelite charms. I simply sent the artisan an email asking, "Where on earth are you finding those spiral celluloid loops?"

    WELL, get ready. Their modern day equivalent are SPIRAL POULTRY LEG TAGS/BANDS. Yes, that is right, farmers use varying sizes, from 1/4 inch all the way up to 1", and all sorts of colors.

    I then postulated that because of the depression, women must have made their own jewelry from poultry leg tags/bands??? OR, did the poultry industry begin to use the spiral coils when they saw them on women's necks???

    I don't know but I would wager that it is the former because of the depression, women saw the brilliant colors and decided to make their own chains. I haven't found ANY information to support this and really I don't think that I will because I just don't think it is considered important enough for people to try and figure out. But, maybe someone here knows???

    I have some original simple chains of celluloid and some of the spirals. I will attach a photo of an original and then a chain that I have made with poultry leg tags/bands. The primary color necklace with the twist licorice pendant (This was really a dress clip but I took the metal clip off the back... carefully) is original. Those rings, in the colors of the spectrum are from avon rings and are fairly modern compared to the twist and chain.

    The second photograph is a necklace that I made with modern poultry leg tags/bands. Red and black. Those are cedar links that I carved myself and the cedar knot is the pendant that I carved and the only thing "vintage" on the chain is an "I am Bogey Man" Cracker Jack charm. EDIT here because the cedar tree was definitely "vintage"!

    In conclusion, I'd like to warn anyone trying to buy a celluloid necklace that there are unscrupulous sellers out there claiming to be selling "1930s" celluloid necklaces that are really modern plastic chains or poultry leg tags/bands. Some are very good copies but unless you have an original you will be hard pressed to tell the differences. I warn you because it is so cheap to get chain and tags/bands and make your own.

    I am of the belief that anything out there can be used to make a necklace. I.E. Cedar knots I found in my own pile of kindling!

    I believe in sharing knowledge and ideas. I don't believe in profiting from other people's ignorance of particular details.

    How about you people, anyone have a real celluloid show stopper? Have you made your own "modern" equivalent?

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    PastPiecesVintage likes this.
  2. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I wanted to include a necklace that I made with 1/4" chain in red that I got off a seller on Etsy. I got 3 feet of red, black and white 1/4" chain for $12.54 and I had this 1960s hologram "Man on the Moon" pin. The pin was broken but very easily transformed into a pendant. A very simple chain but I adore it because I love that we walked on the moon!

    I am forever looking for ideas and I used shiny chainmail jump rings with an old pot metal clown pencil sharpener for the other necklace photographed.

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  3. pinky-a-gogo

    pinky-a-gogo Administrator Staff Member

    Those necklaces are fantastic! Do you sell them or just collect?

    I had no idea about the chicken bands! Very interesting.
  4. Metro Retro Vintage

    Metro Retro Vintage Trade Member

    Hi Linda -- Do you mean that poultry bands make up the chains links in your first piece? It's very colorful and attractive.

    However, is the pendant the dress clip that you removed the back from, and was it an undamaged clip?

    ETA: OK, I just read your post again carefully, and realize that the metal necklace is the one comprised of the poultry rings. Nice job.
  5. Linn

    Linn Trade Member

    I have a number of original celluloid and Bakelite necklaces in my personal collection. Linda, your theory about the chicken bands is interesting - certainly the modern equivalants are similar - although some of the vintage links are oval and some are round - and most are colors match the rest of the piece - blue, mottled salmon, etc. This is one of my favorites.


    Your colorful necklace is fabulous but I do want to say that I am not in favor of repurposing vintage dress clips (or pencil sharpeners) if they are undamaged and can be used for their original purpose. There are ways to temporararly convert clips and pins to pendants and it is possible to "clip a clip" to a chain. This is a late 1940's Boucher set. The ornament on the chain is fur clip that clips or fits over the chain and it can also still be worn as a fur clip.

  6. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I see that I've offended the sensibilities of the collectors. Sorry. Yes, that was a perfectly fine dress clip but the metal clasp was visible through the loop at the top and I found this to be "a fault". Mostly, I want to present this item to the world via myself! Take that pencil sharpener, it would be displayed in my house??? I do not have a single problem with drilling two holes in it's ears and passing a jump ring through so that I can present it to the world when I wear it. Look at him! If he isn't from the 'Carnival of Souls' then I'm a white-faced clown!!! People need to see it, imo.

    Laura, the multi-colored necklace is vintage. The necklace with the carved wooden links, is modern. I made it all except for the Bogey Man charm. The loops are modern poultry tags. I love your necklace... are those teeny vaginas??? OH! Sorry but I had to make the comparison.

    I do not sell but I love to share ideas and inspiration.

    Edit, I guess I see an object that is beautiful and I try to transform it into something that will get used all the time instead of something that might get used a few times a year.
  7. Metro Retro Vintage

    Metro Retro Vintage Trade Member

    I've just removed what I said, since I was reacting. However, Linda -- welcome. But please note what was said earlier to another poster about catching more bees with honey.

    Your jewelry is quite lovely and very creative (and a lot of work). However, please keep in mind that this is a Vintage forum for a Vintage Guild, and so upcycling is not something that is encouraged.

    However, you may want to visit the Vintage Village...


    They have a sister group called Vintage Rising with lots of crafters and upcyclers, and I think you'll enjoy it.
  8. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Hahahahaa! I will be honest, I had to google alimentary canal.

    Here are a couple more of my vintage reworks!

    The first one was a broken celluloid bar menu from the 1930s (I believe). They normally come with a stand so that you could put them on the bar. I am a bartender so this one is very dear to me. There are leetle cards with drink recipes on it. 11 of them.

    The second one is a 20s Felix The Cat ornament (not quite sure about that?)and it was broken too. the tail had to be glued back in to place. I love it because it sits right in between my cleavage and his tail swings! OH!

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  9. Metro Retro Vintage

    Metro Retro Vintage Trade Member

    I'm glad you have a sense of humor :)

    Oh that Felix necklace! I want!
  10. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Yeah, that smirk is irresistible! I just couldn't let something with that much potential languish in someone's drawer.

    I have a few really remarkable 30s necklaces too. Impeccable and untouched. I promise. I have the bakelite cherries on red celluloid chain. I coveted it for years and finally shelled out $300 to get a couple sold together. One celluloid chain and the other with a brass chain. I found a matching set of earrings at Value Village for $2.99! Now, that was a good day.
  11. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Here they are and I know they are the most "cliche" of all the sets but I had wanted one for as long as I could say bakelite. I find it very difficult to wear these because, as you must know, those stems are just covered string and the cherries are so heavy that with time and movement the connection grows weaker. Still when I can be assured that I will not be dancing like a mad woman or moving around too much, I love to wear the necklace.

    Do you know any tricks on helping to maintain this necklace in particular?

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  12. Metro Retro Vintage

    Metro Retro Vintage Trade Member

    Oh, those are fun! But I know what you mean about that thin celluloid coating on the string, which always tends to crack. I wish I knew of a way to avoid it. Maybe they should be reserved for ballroom dancing only. ;)
  13. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Whilst searching for old photos of 40s sweaters I stumbled across a woman in a sweater with a "chunky" necklace. Well, I had to buy this too because I have NEVER seen a photo of a "real" person wearing a celluloid chain. I have a necklace almost identical to this one, too. It was only a few dollars.

    Look at that curl. A surfer might want to ride that baby!

  14. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    My VERY FAVORITE loops are the clear lucite/acrylic loops. Sorry to say that I bastardize them too. They normally come with seashells. Now, I have nothing against seashells but I much prefer "Google-Eyed" charms to shells.


    I also frankensteined a few of the loop necklaces together and then repaired an old pin of lucite (miriam haskell?) and attached it to the chain. The pin was in very terrible "aesthetic" condition. the wires on the back were rusted through so I replaced them with fishing line to maintain that "clear" aesthetic. Edit here. I wanted to make and extra long chain because I thought it would be decadent to have such and expanse of a rare type of loop. HA! I had wait for a while and I had to buy a few chains to get the length and right size of loops. Well worth the wait, IMO.

    They went from a few different pieces that were never worn to two fantastic pieces that I literally wear all the time.

    Note: Never wear perfume with old celluloid or bakelite jewelry. It causes discoloration over time. You will notice a little yellowing on the brooch/pendant. This is the result of perfume reacting with the plastic over the coarse of many years. Some consider this a flaw. I adore it! It's like moss on a rock, to me.
  15. foofoogal

    foofoogal Registered Guest

    Very awesome photo of the lady.
    I have a ? I am hesitant to ask but am very curious. Celluloid (not bakelite) is flammable. Is that a problem or with jewelry is it stable?
  16. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Yes, celluloid is flammable. They used to use it to make billiard balls and when hit in a game, they've even been known to explode. Also, you all know that many, many early films are forever lost because of this fact. I've never had anything catch on fire. I keep my celluloid jewelry in a special space. In metal drawers, no light exposure at all. I have never heard of any piece of jewelry catching on fire.

    Celluloid is also extremely susceptible to decay from light exposure. I'm sure we've all seen that button in that jar that is nothing but dust? I think, though, if you take care of your pieces and store them properly that they can survive without issue.
  17. foofoogal

    foofoogal Registered Guest

    Me either. Thank you for the information.
  18. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    When the Jeff Koons 'Puff Orange Balloon Dog" went for $58.4 million the other day it reminded me of the puffiest necklace I have ever made. These are vintage teenage dolls. Isn't it funny that those teenagers look like middle-aged women?!


    poppysvintageclothing likes this.
  19. sewingmachinegirl

    sewingmachinegirl Administrator

    Me too Laura- I love it!

    I want the doll necklace too!
  20. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. This necklace below is all vintage, from the celluloid loops to the vintage charms (gum ball and cracker jack). If I could, I would wear it every single day.


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