During the start of the twentieth century, celluloid was widely employed as a plastic substitute for cellulose nitrate in a wide range of consumer goods. In the beginning, it was employed mostly for filmmaking, but it swiftly found its way into the jewelry industry.
Celluloid, the first synthetic plastic material was invented and patented by Hy Nestle in 1869, but inventor John Wesley Hyatt is credited with commercializing it. Hyatt had experimented with cellulose nitrate, intending to use it to manufacture billiard balls. He wanted an alternative to the ivory which had, up until that time, been the material used. His combination of cellulose nitrate and camphor resulted in the material we now know as celluloid.
At Jewelry Bubble, we are proud to offer some of the most unique and attractive costume jewelry available anywhere on the planet. We scour the ends of the Earth for these vintage plastic treasures and we hand-pick each piece that arrives on our shores.
Vintage celluloid jewelry combines the charm of timelessness with the style of contemporary accessories. Celluloid jewelry adds a touch of sophistication to your ensemble while also providing a little of flare. The lightweight plastic material creates stylish and appealing forms that are ideal for adding the final touch to any outfit.
Vintage plastic jewelry played a significant role in twentieth-century living. As people became more accepting of new technology, they also became more accepting of plastics. While these pieces of jewelry will never be confused with gold or diamonds, they remain an integral component of culture and fashion.
Celluloid was utilized to create hair ornaments and garment clips in the early twentieth century. Later, it was utilized to manufacture film material for motion pictures, which resulted in the development of nylon and transparent plastic. Celluloid's utilization began to dwindle as World War II dragged on. Because the war effort placed a premium on rubber over other raw materials, many products were constructed using a plastic called Bakelite rather than celluloid. As a result, celluloid went out of favor and became a symbol of nostalgia owing to its popularity during the Art Deco era.
Celluloid jewelry is often intricately carved with floral and leaf designs. It was often utilized in early twentieth-century brooches and garment clips. Place your item of jewelry in hot water for a few seconds to determine its celluloid content. If the substance smells strongly like camphor or old vinegar, it is most likely celluloid.
Numerous old polymers share celluloid's visual and physical properties. Bakelite, another well-known antique plastic, was invented in 1909 by Leo Baekeland as a more durable alternative for celluloid. On the other hand, many contemporary collectors see celluloid as a valuable vintage plastic on a par with Bakelite. Always buy what you like.
Celluloid jewelry requires some extra attention. It should be kept with care, since it is fragile and sensitive to temperature extremes. Additionally, it is combustible, which means that the hot pin test (which I seldom advocate for testing in general) is a no-no with celluloid. Additionally, it might be harmed by excessive wetness. If possible, avoid storing in a dry atmosphere. Dryness over an extended length of time may dull the celluloid's gloss and may even cause the item to shatter.
The Celluloid Collectors Reference and Value Guide is an indispensable, fully illustrated reference for anybody interested in collecting or learning about the history of celluloid, particularly those interested in miniatures and jewelry. The prices shown in the book are indicative only and are not guaranteed to be accurate. Celluloid identification might be challenging at times due to the fact that there can be several variances or unknown elements to consider. Prices are often determined after a thorough examination of previously sold auctions or collections.