1930s Multicoloured Novelty Bakelite Necklace

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Impressive 1930s Bakelite necklace made up of multicoloured beads in various shades of dark green, mustard, orange, tan, red, brown and black - colours which were given food-related names such as Creamed Corn, Butterscotch, Egg Yolk, and Salmon. Each bead is reminiscent of a chess piece, with rounded lines that very much echo the art deco styles of the era.

Originally used for industrial purposes thanks to its ability to withstand heat, moulded Bakelite and its cast cousin, Catalin, made the jump to costume jewellery in the 1920s and had their heyday in the 1930s and 1940s with this necklace being one of the more decadent examples. When worn, the piece makes an impressive statement thanks to its substantial size and colourful appearance. Its generous length makes it possible to slip easily on and off overhead or it can be worn looped over. Truly a rare find which belongs in a serious collection.

Condition wise, this is verging on extraordinary given the complexity of the carving and the shear number of individuals beads. We count very close to 250 hand carved beads in total - no seaming. Two beads appear to have been lost completely; one has lost it 'head' and another has a piece chipped away but these are not noticeable when worn. The necklace is such a lengthy piece that these could be removed altogether and barely one inch would be lost. All colours have minimal oxidation, no pitting, and the piece has minimal everyday wear such as scratches and marks. This has been in Circa's collection for many years and as an owner and wearer of the finest costume jewellery, I have never seen anything else as spectacular. As a collector this has to rank amongst the finest surviving specimens of 7 colour Bakelite examples. I've tested this with Simi Chrome and it is certainly a substantial and weighty piece at 165 grams in keeping with Bakelite material.

LENGTH: 46 in. ( 116.84 cm )
WIDTH: 0.6 in. ( 1.52 cm )