MelodyODesigns at Etsy
Mom had a jewelry box on her dresser. It wasn't fancy. Given that she grew up during the depression I think it might have been handmade by one of her brothers from simple stained pine wood. However, to me as a young child, that simple treasure box and it's contents were every bit as exciting as playing with the crown jewels might have been for some other child. It opened up a world of interesting shapes, textures and marvelous bright colors. I remember playing with the treasures in her box whenever I could manage to sneak a peek and dreaming of wearing them someday. I'd quietly clamber up on a chair to reach the dresser, open the lid on the jewelry box, and retreat into my own world. Ah, the colors! She liked the color blue a lot, but it was her collection of bright cherry red Bakelite pieces of the 1940's that totally captured my attention and imagination. I remember big chunky red earrings, awesome buttons, a red bangle bracelet, and.........
a dangling yellow disc necklace, oh how I loved the many DANGLING pieces in her collection............
and butterscotch hoop earrings.
At the end of my mom's life things were in chaos and I never found out what happened to her jewelry box and the contents. I can only hope that they ended up in the hands of someone who appreciated it as much as I did.
I had forgotten about the jewelry box and my love affair with red Bakelite jewelry until I saw two episodes of "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS. One featured the well-known vintage Cherry Jubilee necklace of bright red dangling Bakelite cherries and the other the classic Cherry Bar Brooch with suspended cherries. They made my heart sing. I desperately wanted to own them, however, they are in scarce supply, usually have extremely damaged stems and sell for a great deal of money ($500-$1,000+).............so...........I made my own reproductions using artist-quality polymer clay with sturdy green stereo wire stems, antique brass wire, and modern PVC chain. People noticed when I wore them and wanted their own, so...........
Nowadays I handcraft and sell reproductions of classic vintage Bakelite cherry jewelry at my shop. The reproductions remain true to the spirit of the originals and I'm proud to say that I discovered an uncredited photograph of my recent work (2009) in a gallery of online photos featuring the "best of the vintage Bakelite jewelry from the the 1940's"!
|Red Cherry faux Bakelite necklace reproduction with green chain and whimsical tiny Ladybugs|
Red Cherry faux Bakelite reproduction necklace in the Short Stem version
Red Cherry faux Bakelite Bar Brooch reproduction