Bakelite Scottie Dog Brooch
Bakelite and other synthetic plastics were introduced as costume jewelry materials in the early part of this century, at first imitating such natural materials as amber and ivory. Bakelite gained rapid popularity due to lightness of weight (enabling large pieces), and the wide range of bright, strong colors available. The jewelry could be molded, carved, and meshed with metal, rhinestones, and wood. Geometric Deco shapes were a natural for Bakelite.
The fashion stamp of approval was given to plastic when used in the 1920's by designer Coco Chanel. Miriam Haskell helped Depression budgets along by using plastics in her collections. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's little dog Fala inspired a wide variety of plastic scotty dog pins, such as the one featured at the top of this page. These pins are highly collectible today. Second World War shortages, including the lack of glass from Czechoslovakia, created a even greater demand for plastics. In the late 1950's and 1960's, Kenneth J. Lane introduced plastics in his sophisticated collections.
Bakelite jewelry is sometimes humorous, sometimes elegant, always charming and irresistibly collectible. Bakelite jewelry may be polished with the chrome polish Simichrome.