Monday, November 4, 2013

Museum Monday - Bakelite

From the collection of the inimitable Iris Apfel 

One of my minor passions (because I don't have the wherewithal to indulge in it majorly) is Bakelite, especially Bakelite jewelry.  So imagine how much I loved discovering this site.


The Bakelite Museum is an online treasure trove of jewelry and objects produced in the first half of the 20th century.  Divided into different gallery sections, a store, and information on selling, the site is full of lovely images and info on all things Bakelite.


Museum founder Damion Dreher says "I have been actively been involved in collecting Bakelite over the last thirty five years. This site is primarily devoted to the visual and aesthetic aspects of the material, as opposed to technical qualities. It is the museum’s premise that Bakelite, which was hand made by many craftsmen who had no formal artistic training represents an aspect of american folk art. 

Colourful buttons

If one studies different examples of the same object made by different hands it is very apparent that many of the objects were created based on the individual craftsman’s concept of the piece and there is often a great difference seen in the same object made by different hands.In this country there has never been a comprehensive show of Bakelite in a major american museum. 

Striped bracelets
The purpose of this website is to essentially create an museum devoted to the presentation of the full scope of American Bakelite jewelry and objects."

A few pieces from my own collection

There is something so evocative about Bakelite, a look back to the '30s and '40's, a feeling of nostaglia for a time before most of us were born.  It's smoothness and colour, a passport to a by-gone era.

For more brilliant Bakelite check out my
 Pinterest board Cool Bakelite and Jewelry


  1. Can you hear the shrieking all the way up the coast? With a few button exceptions, I didn't have the good sense to acquire Bakelite when it was almost affordable, like in the 70s. I, too, love it. Thanks for your post and the link. I am borrowing one photo to share on FB. Whee. It's a happy Monday. xo

  2. Marylinn - Aren't we all kicking ourselves for missing the chance to acquire when it was, as you say, "almost affordable". Even so, it's fun to just look at the pictures.

  3. Chris - Isn't it just yummy to look at?