Back To Bakelite


At one point I had an impressive collection of Bakelite, Prystal and other early plastic jewellery. It used to be much easier to find at thrift stores and garage sales. And at one point, it became quite collectible and therefore expensive. So I sold most of my pieces before the bottom dropped out of the Bakelite market. I even sold a bunch of bracelets to a woman who, it later turned out, was somewhat to blame for the overinflated prices (long story, once she got them, she claimed they had been tampered with and wanted me to refund her half the price to which I said, send ’em back for a full refund or no refund at all — I resisted and they were purchased by her rival who gave me the low down on buyer 1’s malarkey).

While I have no regrets about selling, I do miss the clink clank of Bakelite. I had been trying to work out a BUNZ trade for this anchor-themed necklace for months but COVID-19 got in the way. Last week the trade finally happened! And the week before that, I found these swirly green spaces in a bag of bangles at the Value Village. They are extra special because the swirly pattern reminds me of malachite — one of my favourite stones.

I sometimes look at thrift shopping like fishing and that you have to be careful not to overfish certain species. Maybe it’s a sign that the second hand Bakelite population has had time to heal and repopulate.