This large vintage cameo brooch from the mid-1930s rests on an oval of tortoise-colored Bakelite. The white cameo has excellent detail and shows wonderful signs of craftsmanship. The caramel color of the Bakelite remains bright and consistent throughout the piece. The brooch is in overall great vintage condition, with some of the coloration around the brooch fading with age. The pin and clasp mechanism is in good working order.
For those unfamiliar with Bakelite, it is one of the first plastics made from synthetic components. Bakelite was used for its electrical nonconductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings, and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, and children's toys. In 1993, Bakelite was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society in recognition of its significance as the world's first synthetic plastic. The "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products and labor-intensive manufacturing have made them collectible in recent years.
This lovely, eye-catching brooch would certainly make a subtle statement with any formal outfit or on a scarf or sweater. Consider adding this piece to your own jewelry box!