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Thrift Store for Antique Bakelite


Baklite jewelry
Cynthia Shirk / Shutterstock.com

Buying groceries thrift shops, flea markets and property gross sales can also be overwhelming. With the sheer quantity of stuff, how are you aware the place to begin? How do you notice gem stones amid all of the junk?

As a qualified reseller who has been combing via thrift shops for the simpler a part of 30 years, I will be able to assist. In case you’re in a position to chop your buying groceries time in part, ranking larger bargains or stroll away with brag-worthy unearths you’ll be able to turn for money, learn on.

From hard-to-find home items to resale money-makers, the entirety featured in my “Thrift Store Like a Professional” collection qualifies as a BOLO (“be looking out” for) merchandise. Whilst you discover it, purchase it!

Learn on to be informed about this month’s featured discover.

Featured discover: Bakelite

Flatware with Bakelite handles
David PAPILLON / Shutterstock.com

This month’s featured discover isn’t a unmarried merchandise, however a subject matter used to make many pieces — Bakelite. Invented in 1907 by way of chemist Leo Baekeland, Bakelite used to be the primary artificial plastic. Its construction prepared the ground for the trendy plastics business.

As a result of Bakelite used to be moldable, heat-resistant and moderately light-weight, it used to be used to make quite a lot of business and family merchandise.

First publicly introduced in 1909, its reputation coincided with the early Artwork Deco duration, and lots of pieces made from Bakelite mirror the smooth traces and stylistic cues of the time.

Lately, Baekeland’s namesake product is prized by way of creditors and architects world wide. Essentially the most sought-after pieces come with:

  • Dress jewellery
  • Drawer pulls and knobs
  • Sport items
  • Kitchen utensil and flatware handles
  • Buttons
  • Clock and radio casements

Why purchase it?

vintage bakelite jewelry
Cynthia Shirk / Shutterstock.com

In case you’re no longer an Artwork Deco fanatic or jewellery lover, there’s every other compelling explanation why to shop for Bakelite — resale worth.

As it’s simply flawed for contemporary plastic, Bakelite can nonetheless be discovered at thrift shops and backyard gross sales around the nation.

Two years in the past, the chief of a thrift store pulled me apart and mentioned, “I held again some outdated bracelets for you; I’ll cross get them.” She returned with a shoebox stuffed with jumbled bracelets. A number of had been plastic, however a couple of had been made from Bakelite. The entire field value $5, and I couldn’t pay her speedy sufficient. I resold 3 bangle bracelets for $110.

Although lots of the jewellery is in personal palms, it’s no longer unusual to seek out Bakelite {hardware} connected to vintage furnishings. I’ll fortunately purchase a broken chest of drawers simply to salvage the Bakelite drawer pulls.

On Etsy, this set of six drawer pulls in Bakelite and brass is indexed for $295. On eBay, this octagonal Bakelite bracelet offered for $231.68 and this apple-themed brooch introduced $390.

What to search for

Vintage Bakelite jewelry
Nimisid / Shutterstock.com

Distinguishing a work of Bakelite from fashionable plastic takes observe. With out checking out the article (which we’ll discuss later) search for those options:

  • Weight: Bakelite is heavier and denser than fashionable plastic. When two items of Bakelite are tapped in combination, the sound is very similar to the clang of pottery.
  • Colour: A part of Bakelite’s early reputation used to be the fantastic spectrum of colours it introduced. Search for butterscotch yellows, cherry reds, grassy vegetables and brilliant citrus oranges. There’s additionally a undeniable intensity and richness to the colours that’s tricky to explain. While you’ve observed a couple of items up shut, you’ll know what I imply.
  • Marbling: Bakelite could be a cast colour or marbled. Marbled items function unique “swirls” of vegetables blended with gold, pink with orange, or brown with amber. In jewellery, extra marbling way upper resale worth.

check for authenticity

Vintage bakelite radio
josefkubes / Shutterstock.com

Suppose you’ve discovered an original piece of Bakelite? The “sniff check” is a handy guide a rough option to discover out before you purchase. The usage of a bracelet for instance, right here’s the way it works: First, rub a small house of the bracelet along with your thumb (rub lengthy sufficient to create somewhat of warmth). Subsequent, scent the article. If the rubbed house offers off a definite chemical scent (suppose formaldehyde), it’s most likely Bakelite.

Nonetheless no longer certain? Check out the “409 check” on a small spot at house. It’s a extra definitive option to decide if a work is actual Bakelite.

Professional tip: Bakelite is sturdy, however abrasive cleansing merchandise can uninteresting the end. To scrub a complete Bakelite piece, a comfortable material, heat water and delicate dish cleaning soap paintings perfect.

Disclosure: The ideas you learn here’s all the time goal. On the other hand, we now and again obtain repayment while you click on hyperlinks inside our tales.



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