From the late 1950s comes this rare and visually unique French, layered Lucite barrette bearing many different-colored shapes and forms, from a silver spiral trailing with clear rhinestones to a black and pearlescent pink square to a gold ribbon-shaped form. This piece is long, layered, and massive and makes an extremely bold graphic statement piece with tons of dimension.
This provocative Lucite barrette was acquired at the last estate auction of high-end jewelry from the antique shop “This ‘n That” owned by Anita Stern, whose store and jewelry have been featured in magazines, movies and runway shows for decades. This layered, graphic barrette is in great vintage condition, with only a few scuff marks and remnants of a price tag on the reverse side. Do note that the central circle does shift a bit, but this was done intentionally by the designer to keep the piece dynamic. The metal clip of the barrette bears the words “Made in France.”
For those unfamiliar with Lucite, it is the “queen of diversity,” appearing in many forms, colors and styles in jewelry from the 1940s to today, although it was most popular during the 1940s and 50s. Lucite is an acrylic resin, and one type of thermoset plastic (Bakelite is another, although Bakelite is a phenol formaldehyde resin). A brief aside here to clear up a point: the term “thermoset” does not refer to a specific form or style of plastic; it is a broad-based term referring to any plastic that, once heated and formed, cannot be melted a second time and reformed. Although clear in its original state, as with this reverse-carved roses brooch, Lucite can be tinted virtually any color, in ranges from transparent to opaque, with a few interesting variations along the way.
This remarkable and unforgettable French barrette would make for a wonderful gift for any occasion for that special lady or even young women in your life. If you are a collector of Lucite, then this psychedelic barrette would make a fine addition to your costume jewelry collection.