Sign up for our e-newsletter:


Thirties Glamour and the Allure of Bakelite

Mint Museum UPTOWN Oct 29 2005-Apr 2 2006   /  The advent of Bakelite jewelry infused the bleakness of the Depression era with innovative, colorful and complementary fashion accessories such as bracelets, rings, pins and neckpieces.

Exhibition Highlights

About The Exhibition

The advent of Bakelite jewelry infused the bleakness of the Depression era with innovative, colorful and complementary fashion accessories such as bracelets, rings, pins and neckpieces. During the financially tight 1930s, resourceful women discovered that inexpensive Bakelite jewelry dramatically refreshed oneís wardrobes by adding eye-catching accents and accessories to an ensemble. The jewelry could be molded into virtually any shape or color and carved into exquisite decorative patterns, thus adding variety and a new look to a woman's wardrobe with little cost. Bakelite, considered the first synthetic liquid resin, was patented in 1909 by chemist Dr. Leo Baekeland (1863-1944). Today Bakelite jewelry and fashion accessories are highly prized collectibles and enjoy renewed popularity. They are affordable, and serve to epitomize Art Deco and Moderne fashion and design innovations.

Pieces drawn from the collection of Charlottean Patty Gorelick, combined with period fashions from the Historic Costume Collection of the Mint Museum of Art, showcase the beauty and intriguing designs of manufacturer-designers who embraced the Bakelite medium.