This is a fabulous Art Deco Era painted celluloid bead necklace. I found the necklace at an antique store in Maine and thought it was wood until I looked closely with a loupe. It is actually composed of painted celluloid plastic beads. There is a dark brown stain on the outside and a lighter brown inside the cut outs. The beads are graduated in size from 9-17mm.
Celluloid was patented in 1868 and was among the earliest types of plastic. Celluloid had a multitude of uses and was introduced in the jewelry industry in the 1870's. It could be made to look like tortoise, wood, horn, coral and ivory. Many pieces are often seen in pastel colors and it was heavily carved and embellished with rhinestones. Celluloid was also painted and is light weight and flexible. Celluloid, Bakelite and Wood jewelry was popular around WWI and WWII eras when metals were in high demand and designers were forced to use wood and new plastics. See our blog post on Plastic Jewelry to learn more.
- Barrel clasp
- Circa 1920's.
- Length: 17 inches
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