Carved 1920’s Bakelite

vintage pendant carved bakelite 1920s

A throwback to February for a simple outfit where this true vintage treasure is the star! This turn of the century pendant is made from some of the first plastic, bakelite. It’s highly collectable, funny considering how most people feel about plastic these days!

vintage carved bakelite plastic necklace

This is truly one of my most precious pieces of jewellery. I’ll tell you the story of when I got it. My family have a summer house in the south of Sweden. To get there you have to drive for hours before turning off into the countryside before reaching the sea. There are plenty of farms around and a few years ago one of the barns had a small estate sale. The owner had passed away, so the daughter was selling the property. She had opened the shop just in case anyone wanted her mother’s “junk”. I had a poke around with my mom, and being a mere teen back then I must have looked past lots of other treasures. Cold sweat. I can’t recall who found it, and what other items were around, but this necklace caught my eye. It came in a little box and the lady explained that it had been her mother’s.

She had brought it over from “The Americas” around 1910-20 and it was made from some of the first plastic ever made. I fell hard, and happily paid the few quid she asked for. The next day I returned to have another look around, and she had closed up shop. It was truly a once in a life time find and every time I drive past that barn I can’t resist having a peek to see if anyone else has decided to clear out forgotten treasures.  I kept it in the box for years, unsure how I would get use out of such a statement piece. It was only later I realised the vintage community’s attraction to bakelite, and how I could style it without feeling overpowered.

carved bakelite plastic necklacemessy up do

When I originally got this piece it was on a piece of worn and itchy string. It’s now on a chain which feels a lot more contemporary. I normally consider carefully before altering a vintage piece, but in this case it is the pendant that is the treasure, and this way I get more wear out of it. I just love the details, the colour and floral carving remind me of blue china. As it is a statement piece with it’s bright cobalt colour and sheer size I try to keep things simple when I wear it. Here I paired it with a messy up do and a simple white shirt, one with bishop sleeves and lots and lots of buttons from The Shirt Factory, whereas today I wore it with a blue and white striped top from H&M and a simple grey cardigan.

vintage pendant carved bakelite 1920s

What is your favourite piece with a story?

Leave a Reply