I had the fabulous opportunity to spend last weekend in New Orleans and couldn’t have enjoyed my shopping experience more. It’s easy to get caught up in the euphoria of the city with stores lining the streets all packed with dainty dresses and beautiful antique shops. An added perk was being able to shop around with food and drinks, yes this includes alcohol! Why should the culture of New Orleans end at the boutique door?

While on my shopping excursion I noticed that one of the many things New Orleans has no shortage of is Bakelite, which I’ve aways adored. In case you aren’t familiar, this form of plastic became a popular material in the jewelry market after the Great Depression. Bakelite was used to make colorful and inexpensive accessories like pins, earrings, and especially bangles. Simple Bakelite is typically available in shades of green, red, and butterscotch. Aside from the basics, multicolored pieces are offered that appear to be swirled. These are known as “End of Day” pieces because they were mixed together from multiple batches at days end to prevent any from going to waste. The most expensive Bakelite jewelry is carved or adorned with jewels. My absolute favorite Bakelite jewelry designed in this fashion is done by modern designer Mark Davis. However, his jewelry is very Barneys. If you are interested in the classic and carved Bakelite stick to the streets of NOLA. The best I found was from a store called Antiques Art Collectables on Royal Street. The store owner’s daughter is apparently “The Bakelite Lady of New Orleans”. True or not, they house some of the best Bakelite I have seen in the Unites States!

Traditional Bakelite above, jeweled Bakelite below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *