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Posted By Inktiques / Michelle Greysen
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There are as many reasons to collect as there are collectors and Depression glass is no exception. For most vintage Depression glass fans the attraction is the wonderful nostalgia attached to it especially in North America where the Depression era was hard hit and any recollection of family life from the historically lean years is near and dear in many collector’s hearts. Another great reason to collect in the area of Depression glass is that there are so many patterns, styles, colors and items that it literally has something for everyone and prices range from very little to some pieces with high end values. Depression glass was a utilitarian inexpensive glass that was used daily in most homes in the 1930’s. Collecting of it offers a peak at a part of history most of the collectors today recall only through their parents and grandparents stories of the tough times. Because it is so close to the current generation today most families still have some pieces still kicking around. It can also be readily found at inexpensive thrift stores and tag sales making it a very affordable area to start a collection in.
The molded glass was typically of poor quality and mass produced having many flaws and air bubbles. It was made in virtually every colour the now popular varieties are in pinks, blue, green, amber, and also in opaque and iridescent. Many patterns carry lovely names offering a hint to royalty and prestige brightening up the struggling households of the dirty thirties. Often companies would offer the inexpensive glass as a purchase premium to encourage sales and housewives of the day could scoop the likes of ice cream bowls and teacups from their household boxes of basic staples such as detergents and cereals. Not to be outdone their husbands could bring home pieces from filling their gas tanks at participating gas stations.
The collecting rage of early and mid-century modern and the vintage kitsch representative of North American life up to the mid 1900’s is a hot area for collectors. One of the reasons for the trend is the items are uniquely from this continent, directly relate to a lifestyle most are familiar with and it offers North Americans an area of collecting that is both accessible and affordable. Newly budding collectors and seasoned pros can both dabble and hunt in the same playing field allowing a great sharing of both knowledge and passion for this wonderful collectible which was literally found in every home in North America in its day. People collect for many reasons but mostly to cherish and enjoy their finds and to bring back memories of an era gone by. Depression glass does just that while telling a history of one’s own family not that long ago.

 
Posted By Inktiques / Michelle Greysen
When many think of Bakelite the images of plastic bangle jewellery pop to mind. The craze of the 1920’s through to the 1970’s are for the most part not Bakelite. Many plastics such as Lucite, celluloid, and others, including some Bakelite were molded and tinted into fashion by many makers. Following the war years many inexpensive plastics diluted the market and the quality and the popularity declined. This mass produced item had many makers with some items marked but most not. Coro and Lisner were two of the popular makers of the plastic jewellery trend intended to mimic the highly sought after Art Deco era 1920’s through 1930’s true Bakelite bangles and items now often fetching over $1000 on the collector market.
Bakelite was not just for bangles and jewellery and many items of the era highly collectible and made of Bakelite include cameras, clocks, inkwells, cufflinks, and even desk fans. The mercury brown pistol style cameras of 1930’s and the rare Holly red 1950’s Bakelite box cameras are fetching up to $1000 values in the right market.
So how does one tell if their treasure or great find is indeed Bakelite? The simplest means of testing consist of the hot-water method, where a characteristic odour much like chemical shellac-like emits when the item is warmed under hot running tap water for about 30 seconds (this is not recommended for any item with mixed non plastic materials such as carved woods). Another method a little more harsh is using the product Formula 409 which when rubbed will leave a yellowish residue on the cloth (test this in a small not visible area such as the backside or a pin or inside of a bangle and wash the item with warm soapy water immediately following the test). The down side to this testing is not all Bakelite items will pass all these tests especially if they are very dirty and aged or have had previous chemical tests causing stripping. It is always best to have a reputable dealer verify your item and teach you the proper methods and developing your nose for the true unique Bakelite smell.
Popular bangle bracelet styles to collect include carved designs such as basket weaves, swirling, geometric, floral, and the highly sought after apple juice Bakelite and the hinged carved Scotty dog style. Not just bangles of Bakelite are hot items, the many other items such as dangling fruit pins, animal pin, and pins of sporting themes such as gold or riding are also around and bring high values. Highly collectible items include a Bambi fawn painted pin, a carved leaping gazelle, a jet black swordfish, a yellow marbled chess knight, and dangling pins with cherries, or school themed with a slate, pencil and book hanging on a ruler.
The late-use 1960’s Bakelite was rarer but is found in some necklaces and earrings often sporting bright colours and mod flower power themes of the pop days and can realize values in the hundreds for the right buyer.
Don’t fret it the true Bakelite craze is beyond your collecting pocketbook as the 1960’s ‘pop’ period of plastic and Lucite jewellery is fast becoming a hot area of collecting and still very findable at a reasonable price and just plain fun to wear.

 

 

 
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