I have a complicated relationship with jewelery. I was a pretty fierce tomboy growing up, so aside from earrings and rings, I’ve never really worn much jewelery. And what I did wear was always more of the unisex punk rock variety. I abhor the fabricated desire for jewelery that women are brainwashed into and hate the whole diamond myth so much that I got a wedding ring with an opal in it.
So, I’ve mostly gone without in the vintage jewelery department. But a few years ago, I came across a pair of colorful bakelite hoop earrings on eBay and I was totally hooked. I bought this red pair, which I suspect isn’t actually bakelite but I’ve never bothered to test, and soon after that, I started looking for them in every color I might need.
Which brought me to this green marbled pair. I love these and I’m pretty sure they are actually bakelite.
And then this brown pair, which deviated from my octogon theme.
Then a few years ago I was searching for horse-themed jewelery to wear to a Kentucky Derby party. I found this bakelite horsehead ring. I was beginning to see the appeal of this bakelite obsession.
Any idea why the ring band zig-zags like that? I wondered if it was so they could re-size it somehow. Can you heat up bakelite and stretch it? Seems like a precarious thing to do.
Then my bakelite collection sat dormant for a while. I never bought any of those bangles that so many ladies love, which is also a prejudice that dates back to childhood. When I was a kid, modern versions of these bangles were really popular (as were these) and I always hated them because, being a rather small child, they never stayed on my wrist. They would slip right over my tiny hands and fall off onto the floor. I’d have to keep my hand constantly splayed out in jazz hands to keep the stupid things on. As much as I loved musical theater, this made me feel silly. Plus, why were they hard? It’d be like wearing a rigid ring around your waist as a belt. Seemed asinine. And really, in some way I counted myself as lucky for not seeing the appeal of these much sought-after, expensive baubles.
Well, in the move to the new house, I misplaced most of my jewelery. I eventually found most of it, but my box of bakelite earrings was still missing. I knew it was somewhere, but it eluded my searches. So I started buying more. Right? That’s the only logical thing to do.
While searching for earrings, I saw these two green marbled bangles. Not only did they match my earrings perfectly (see above) but they were strangely really cheap, $9 or so. So I started bidding on them. Well, sometimes eBay gets the better of us and we end up spending $50 on something we originally started bidding on only because it was $9. I’m gonna just pretend I still only spent $9 on them. I’ll like them more.
Which I do, like them. And I to my surprise, they stay on my arms now! No jazz hands necessary (unless I feel like it). I guess I forgot I’m not 7 years old anymore. Am I going to be hooked on bakelike bangles now? My wallet hopes not.
So then I got these yellow octagons (of course, octagons again) which go with a surprising number of things.
Then I figured I needed some blue to round out my collection, so I bought these two blue pairs from one seller on eBay. Any guesses as to which I like more? I think I have some kind of mathematical thing with octagons. Oh, and since 5 is blue, I guess it makes perfect sense that I’d need octagons in blue. What, you don’t all have synesthesia and associate a color with a number like some kind of imbecile? Or maybe 5 is yellow for you? No, that would just be weird. Because yellow is clearly 7. Ok, I digress.
The seller ended up throwing in a third pair of blue earrings for free. Awfully nice of her.
I gotta say I wish the blue bakelite was a little brighter. In a certain light, these look just plain black. I guess if I want windex blue, I’m gonna have to get some 60s plastic.
So that’s all my bakelite. For now. I was going to include some of the other non-bakelite/fakelite stuff I have, as well as my beloved collection of novelty broaches, but that will be another post for another time when I haven’t gotten my act together to post about a sewing project.
So where do you stand on bakelite/fakelite? Are you a nut for it? Unconvinced of its allure? Don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about? And do you accessorize much? Only on special occasions? Every day? Do you have some every day jewelery or do you swap it out every day? Please, tell me more.