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The following 22 messages have been found.
(Search pattern:phenolic plastic, since Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 08:21:05)

Question about miscellaneous holes drilled in Chinese carved beads
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Posted by: jrj Post Reply
09/05/2019, 19:50:52

I have been wondering why there are random-seeming holes in some types of carved Chinese beads that are not terribly old: see the example below. Do they serve as datum or set points for carving machinery? Can someone enlighten me? Thanks!

Also, the price of these carved rose cherry resin beads seems to have taken quite a downturn in the last few years!

jrj_09042019.jpg (105.6 KB)  


Modified by jrj at Thu, Sep 05, 2019, 19:51:56

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Susan Dod's rose-carved cherry resin beads
Re: Re: Chinese carved beads -- jrj Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jrj Post Reply
09/06/2019, 05:58:44


I just looked at photos of Susan Dod's rose-carved cherry resin beads and some of hers have random holes. See the bead to the right of center at the very top in the below image.

Sdods_jjrj_09062019.jpg (152.5 KB)  


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These are 1930s phenolic plastic, carved in China—often sold as "cherry amber."
Re: Susan Dod's rose-carved cherry resin beads -- jrj Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
09/06/2019, 07:18:13



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For comparison - a recent "cherry amber" polyester bead
Re: Question about miscellaneous holes drilled in Chinese carved beads -- jrj Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
09/06/2019, 14:53:13

First photo - a quick glance made me think this was carved phenolic. Actually a 3.5" ball rather than a bead - has the 12 zodiac signs. After I realized it was new, I found many copies on eBay, some claiming to be real amber, for less than $30.

Second photo - the line where the two halves were joined is clearly visible. Close inspection at the right hand end of the line shows where the designs on the two halves don't quite match up.

Unless I inspect a plastic bead and do a few tests, it's very hard to tell what plastic was used.

I will say this about the Chinese "cherry amber" beads like yours though - it seems like there are "enough" of them on sale on eBay at any given time to make me suspect that some of them, at least, are recent production, probably from polyester resin. Could be that a mold was made from some hand-carved beads, then new ones were made from the mold(s). "Prices taking a downturn" makes me suspicious... OTOH all of them may be old phenolic.

RFDragonHead.jpg (85.9 KB)  RFMoldLineCloseup.jpg (105.9 KB)  


Modified by Rosanna at Fri, Sep 06, 2019, 14:56:54

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Test results
Re: Have you tried the reamer or Simichrome tests? -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jrj Post Reply
09/06/2019, 20:31:55

I tried a barely damp (with water) Q-tip and the cotton turned very pale brown, which I assume is dirt. (I bought the necklace at an estate sale and it needs a cleaning.) Same result with ammonia. I'm a bit taken aback by these results because I had assumed the necklace was not amber. Rosanna, are these tests conclusive?



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Your results indicate that it’s a plastic other than phenolic resin, or maybe real amber
Re: Test results -- jrj Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
09/06/2019, 23:18:55

Yes, slight dirt on the surface will come up tan or brown. A deep mustard yellow color, which may be faint, is a result of a chemical reaction with the surface of phenolic resin. A phenolic bead from almost 100 years ago would give this color unless the beads had been heat treated, which is possible. But all the cherry amber jewelry beads I’ve tested gave a positive result in this test.
If you can do the bead reamer test you can confirm the ammonia test result. Ream the hole rapidly and take a sniff of the sawdust. Also observe the color of the sawdust by wiping it on a white cloth. If the bead is amber, the odor will be piney. If musty, medicinal, you have phenolic. If stinky plastic smell, it’s another plastic, probably polyester.

If you’d like to mail me one I’ll check it for you and send it back.



Modified by Rosanna at Fri, Sep 06, 2019, 23:35:02

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There is more dark amber undertone to these beads
Re: Susan Dod's rose-carved cherry resin beads -- jrj Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
09/06/2019, 15:40:28

So I can believe these are phenolic resin. Only a very thin outer layer turns cherry red with age & exposure unless heat treatment is used to drive the color change reaction.

For your first photo, I’m not sure. There doesn’t appear to be any amber undertone, but color photography that is underexposed like in that picture can mask a lot of features.



Modified by Rosanna at Fri, Sep 06, 2019, 23:31:34

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Sigh....
Re: There is more dark amber undertone to these beads -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
09/07/2019, 01:53:51

From 1926 through the '30s and probably later, Chinese beadmakers made thousands or millions of translucent red phenolic plastic beads. The beads that have been marketed as "cherry amber" throughout my career (and long before, of course). The material was imported from Europe or the US, in rectangular blocks—and was transformed into beads via lapidary cutting, grinding, "carving," polishing, and drilling (just as would any industry that made phenolic plastic beads). The beads were most-frequently spherical or spheroidal (many being standard oblates). These fit in well with beads made for Mandarin Court necklaces. (I have them.)

Some beads were carved. Some were elaborately carved—such as the subject beads in this thread. (That I have seen before too.)

The material is generally uniformly red—just like the blocks from which is was derived.

While it is entirely possible that some tawny-yellow phenolic (and/or other plastic) beads have become superficially red over the years, scads of beads were made from red plastic. The tone of the material can vary. Many beads are uniform in color and frankly red in good available light. Others can be darker—and it helps to hold the beads against a light source to see their uniformly-dark-translucent red color. The material of the red Chinese beads is indistinguishable from red phenolic plastic beads made for the European market (often being faceted, and characterized as "Russian cut," and "Victorian" "cherry amber"). And the material is likewise indistinguishable from many (but not all) red phenolic plastic beads made for the Middle Eastern and African markets (except in instances where some beads MAY be yellow with a red exterior—due to age, heating, or dying).

So far, in the arena of Chinese phenolic beads, I do not recall seeing any "dark amber undertone" beads" with surfaces that "turn cherry red." But I have seen and documented, and I own, the beads I have described.

JDA.



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ETSY What?
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Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
03/21/2019, 10:30:27

Found this on ETSY. Evidently a Vintage Venetian Trade Bead. NOT.

$165. deal

this part!!!: It is very difficult to put a date on these beads....

ETSY What?

This could be some kind of honest mistake, who really knows.

Twice I've gotten after someone on eBay. Once was a guy that was obviously into the Reenactment Scene that posted a Riker Box with a strand of new (on the raffia!!) African granular glass/ Sand Beads which were labeled as dug up on a Native American Site, etc and a high price. The second was some Antiques Dealer that had a big chunky strand of Dyed Red Chinese Bamboo Coral labeled as Antique Mediterranean Coral- really expensive too. She, at least replied and said they were Consigned, and she withdrew the listing.

I recently had the humbling experience of having to ReWrite and ReThink one of my listings that I had fouled up. It happens. Are we the Bead Police? Of course not, However I would think it prudent to give a shout out where due in the more blatant cases. A friendly heads up to the seller might save them a bad mark on their seller's Hx, from an irate buyer. Or if they are buying from an unscrupulous Bead Seller they won't make that costly mistake again.

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

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Some of the misrepresentation of beads are hilarious
Re: ETSY What? -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/21/2019, 15:40:26

My all-time favorite was "First Century Islamic" beads, by a history-challenged seller - they were actually Venetian if I recall correctly.

Another beauty was "pre-contact" South American beads that were also clearly Venetian. I could not get the seller to explain how European beads arrived in the new world BEFORE anyone from Europe got there!

And I occasionally see phenolic resin beads "from the 19th century" when the first production of this material was 1910.



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Cast phenolic plastics that imitate amber largely post-date 1926 (!).
Re: Some of the misrepresentation of beads are hilarious -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
03/24/2019, 13:08:06



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I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info on the early years of phenolic resin
Re: Cast phenolic plastics that imitate amber largely post-date 1926 (!). -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/24/2019, 18:54:36

I recently found three references, in French journals (thank you Marie-Jose Opper!), to Faturan, one dated 1913, naming it a "product imitating amber", and two dated 1919. Faturan was a German trade name for phenolic resin. I inspected a bead card labeled Faturan in the Jablonec Glass Museum archives and this product was a cast resin. Also a number of other German commercial phenolic resins products are described in Die Perle, a German jewelry trade magazine (started in 1924). All sound like cast products and some specifically were for faux amber.

Baekeland's original patents (1909) described cast resins as well as the compression molded versions with and without fillers. Patents by others in the US and Europe followed almost immediately and Baekeland was vigorously defending his by 1914. The Bakelite factories did not produce a lot of cast products, but Bakelite was described as available in different "gleaming" colors (which sounds like cast products) in a 1924 book.

In Carleton Ellis' industrial chemistry book published in 1923, cast phenolics are specifically mentioned for beads, indicating that these products were available prior to that date in sufficient quantity to merit mention.

My investigation found that Bakelite Corp did not abandon its cast product line until 1929. The Catalin Corp. began to manufacture cast phenolics around 1926. However the Catalin Corp early years were considered "stormy" with an "inefficient plant" and not an especially viable business until the early 1930s.

IMHO beads were being produced from the new faux amber resins as soon as they were available in the 1910s. I might agree that the quantities were larger starting in the 1920s, but 1926 is not a magic date. It certainly appears that the 1920s and 1930s (and maybe into the 1940s) were the "hey-days" of cast phenolic beads. I don't think 1926 has any particular significance except perhaps for the Catalin Corp. It's also a mistake to be too "US-centric" when looking into phenolic bead production.



Modified by Rosanna at Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 19:51:50

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My response is similar (!)
Re: I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info on the early years of phenolic resin -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
03/24/2019, 20:07:14

You say, "I might agree that the quantities were larger starting in the 1920s, but 1926 is not a magic date."

1926 sort of IS a "magic date." It was the year that the Bakelite company announced their NEW LINE of translucent colored phenolic plastics. And, it was in 1928, two years later, that Catelin negotiated and received the Bakelite Patent, and began to produce their own lines of cast phenolic goods.


You say, "It certainly appears that the 1920s and 1930s (and maybe into the 1940s) were the "hey-days" of cast phenolic beads."

GREAT. THAT is what I said. J.



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Re: I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info on the early years of phenolic resin
Re: I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info on the early years of phenolic resin -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
03/29/2019, 06:22:51

Hi, I did find this from the Plastic Historical Society/ PHS:

James Swinburn, seeking a material for electrical insulation purposes, developed the previous work of Baeyer, Smith and the Austrian chemist Luft.
Both Smith and Luft succeeded in obtaining only insoluble, infusible resinous products which were impossible to mould. (ICI. 1962).
In 1904 Swinburn developed a formula for phenolic resin, whilst in the same year establishing the Fireproof Celluloid Syndicate Ltd. to commercialise the product. This commercialisation was not very successful although a very usable lacquer, for the protection of brass and other metal surfaces, was produced and sold well. By 1910 this lacquer was the dominant company product and the name of the firm was changed to the Damard Lacquer Company.
In parallel to this L.H. Baekeland, working in New York, was also investigating the phenol formaldehyde reaction in the search for an electrical insulating material.
Arthur Smith, in England, took out the first patent for the use of phenolic resins, as they were called, in 1899 (it happened to be for electrical insulation), and five years later an electrical engineer, James Swinburne, established the Fireproof Celluloid Syndicate in London to manufacture and sell the same sort of material. However, neither of these ventures was technically or commercially successful. Baekeland was therefore not tilling virgin soil … (Kaufman 1968).
From 1902 onwards, after five years research, and in a masterpiece of chemical investigation, Baekeland succeeded in producing a synthetic resin which he called Bakelite, registering his ‘Heat and Pressure’ patent on July 13th 1907. Unfortunately this material did not prove itself to be easily mouldable and it is his patent of October 1908 that really covers what is now considered to be a mouldable Bakelite material.
Baekeland was not the first chemist to make a resin …(from phenol and formaldehyde) ….. but he was the first to make a resin which could be used to manufacture useful things (Farrell 1955)."

It goes from there to the USA Baekeland 1908 Patent for Bakelite..

Here is the WHOLE ARTICLE:http://plastiquarian.com/?page_id=14339

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

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Re: I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info ..../ More Info For You
Re: I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info on the early years of phenolic resin -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
03/29/2019, 06:29:05

Hi, I did find this from the Plastic Historical Society/ PHS:

"James Swinburn, seeking a material for electrical insulation purposes, developed the previous work of Baeyer, Smith and the Austrian chemist Luft. Both Smith and Luft succeeded in obtaining only insoluble, infusible resinous products which were impossible to mould. (ICI. 1962). In 1904 Swinburn developed a formula for phenolic resin, whilst in the same year establishing the Fireproof Celluloid Syndicate Ltd. to commercialise the product. This commercialisation was not very successful although a very usable lacquer, for the protection of brass and other metal surfaces, was produced and sold well.

"By 1910 this lacquer was the dominant company product and the name of the firm was changed to the Damard Lacquer Company. In parallel to this L.H. Baekeland, working in New York, was also investigating the phenol formaldehyde reaction in the search for an electrical insulating material. Arthur Smith, in England, took out the first patent for the use of phenolic resins, as they were called, in 1899 (it happened to be for electrical insulation), and five years later an electrical engineer, James Swinburne, established the Fireproof Celluloid Syndicate in London to manufacture and sell the same sort of material. However, neither of these ventures was technically or commercially successful. Baekeland was therefore not tilling virgin soil … (Kaufman 1968)."

"From 1902 onwards, after five years research, and in a masterpiece of chemical investigation, Baekeland succeeded in producing a synthetic resin which he called Bakelite, registering his ‘Heat and Pressure’ patent on July 13th 1907. Unfortunately this material did not prove itself to be easily mouldable and it is his patent of October 1908 that really covers what is now considered to be a mouldable Bakelite material.

"Baekeland was not the first chemist to make a resin …(from phenol and formaldehyde) ….. but he was the first to make a resin which could be used to manufacture useful things (Farrell 1955)."

It goes from there to the USA Baekeland 1908 Patent for Bakelite.. "

Here is the WHOLE ARTICLE:http://plastiquarian.com/?page_id=14339

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

Modified by AnneLFG at Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 06:31:47

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From 2006
Re: Re: I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info ..../ More Info For You -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/01/2019, 15:09:00

Here is a dialogue from 2006, in which I divulge (as I have done countless times) the differences between Bakelite and cast phenolic plastics.

My perspective has changed a little since then—but it is a very little. JDA.

http://beadcollector.net/cgi-bin/anyboard.cgi?fvp=/openforum/&cmd=iYz&aK=41103&iZz=41103&gV=0&kQz=&aO=1&iWz=0


Related link: http://beadcollector.net/cgi-bin/anyboard.cgi?fvp=/openforum/&cmd=iYz&aK=41103&iZz=41103&gV=0&kQz=&aO=1&iWz=0

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Re: My response is similar (!)/ Some more USA Bakelite info
Re: My response is similar (!) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: AnneLFG Post Reply
03/29/2019, 05:30:55

While this does not reflect the activity in Europe, it does give some general info on Bakelite in USA per "Bakelite: Mystery, History & Facts" By Brad Elfrink

"Dr. Leo H. Baekland invented Bakelite by accident in 1907 while trying to produce a less flammable shellac for bowling alley floors."...

"By 1922 bakelite’s production increased so much that the General Bakelite Company found it necessary to merge with two other companies, the Redmanol Chemical Products Company and The Condensite Company, under a new name “The Bakelite Corporation” in order to keep up with the increased demand for the material. In September of 1924, Time Magazine ran a short article about Bakelite which reads as follows….

“Bakelite.” Superficially, it is a composition, born of fire and mystery, having the rigor and brilliance of glass, the luster of amber from the Isles. Poetically, it is a resin formed from equal parts of phenol and formaldehyde, in the presence of a base, by the application of heat. It will not burn. It will not melt. It is used in pipe stems, fountain pens, billiard balls, telephone fixtures, castanets, radiator caps, etc.. "

"In 1927 the Bakelite patent expired and was acquired by the Catalin Corporation that same year. The Catalin Corporation refined the Bakelite formula and manufacturing process to create cast phenolic resins and renamed the material as Catalin. Dr. Baekeland had actually patented cast phenolics in 1909 with bakelite, and his company produced the cast resins in small amounts until around 1929 when the demand for the molded materials became so high that the company focused on them instead."

ARTICLE: http://www.elvenkrafte.com/bakelite%20presentation.htm

Bead lover, collector since Age 15, semi-retired had wholesale/retail bead, folk art, tribal art store Lost and Found Gallery for 25 yrs. in DT Greensboro, NC

Modified by AnneLFG at Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 05:38:43

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Some missing info...
Re: Re: My response is similar (!)/ Some more USA Bakelite info -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/29/2019, 09:47:50

Hi Anne,
Actually Baekeland successfully sued the Redmanol and Condensite Corps for patent infringement and took over the two companies as a result of the lawsuit. In other words he was awarded damages that amounted to owning the two companies. Not really a situation of "finding it necessary to merge". Well at least I wouldn't put it that charitably.

It's hard to find good info on the web - I've been looking into the history of Bakelite for over 3 years now. I am familiar with both of the sources you found. I summarized a lot of my findings in the BEADS article I wrote for volume 28, 2016. See link on the BCN Articles page for the paper on Imitation Amber Beads of Phenolic Resin.

The best article on the history of the Bakelite Corp. was published in March 1936 in Fortune Magazine - I have it but it is not accessible on the web as far as I know. It dishes a lot of dirt on the people behind the various companies that went into competition with Baekeland.

Over in Europe, it seems that the Germans in particular went into production with competitive products almost immediately - I base this on scanty evidence but the 1913 mention of Faturan is suggestive. Baekeland also filed European patents and he went to court there as well. I have not delved too far into what specifically happened but one reference in a German chemical index says that the successful defense of the German patents allowed the development of an independent phenolic resin industry in Germany. It appears that this industry was up and thriving before 1926. I don't have any production figures for either Germany or the US prior to 1926, but I believe that the info I have points to significant production in the early 1920s and possibly before.

This is why I consider the year 1926 not a useful milestone when dating cast phenolic resin beads - I think a lot were made in Europe as well as in the US before that date. In particular, the many graduated bead necklaces, both faceted and smooth, that we now call "cherry amber" because the phenolic resin formulation did not have a stable amber color, are very suggestive of the early days of production when the color instability was a noted problem.

I know that the cherry amber beads were originally yellow amber colored because I fractured some and found that the red was confined to a thin surface layer. The fractured surfaces have slowly turned red over the last 3 years sitting out in the air in my office. Some products were reported to change color in only a few weeks. There's a lot of chemical info in the patents and early texts about this - too much to try and review here.

Last year I visited the Plastics Historical Society archives and copied some info, which I am still digesting. I am still on the lookout for early phenolic resin bead info so if anyone finds anything interesting, please let me know!



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Re: Bakelite Corp.
Re: Bakelite Corp. made cast phenolic resins before 1926 -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/02/2019, 04:30:12

"All of Bakelite's products were called Bakelite."
According to whom, and when?

"Here are excepts about the Bakelite cast resin products from two of the references I used in my research. They both are from 1924 and it would not be much of a stretch to assume the products were available for a number of years before."
"Not much of a stretch"? OK. WHAT beads would those be?

I provide practical information based on reasonable generalizations. My ideas are based on published technical and commercial publications, that (apparently) you have not seen. But I have discussed them multiple times.

I largely do not disagree with you, except in terms of practicality. I make remarks. You disagree, and then you say (essentially) the same thing I said. That is not much of a disagreement.

JDA.



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All Bakelite products were called Bakelite
Re: Re: Bakelite Corp. -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
04/02/2019, 17:10:48

General answer to your first question - according to industrial trade journals and texts that I've read. I have not found any exceptions up to the point where the Bakelite Corp. merged with Union Carbide in 1939. I haven't looked at much info beyond that date.

Specifically, here are copies of two texts: The first is from The Chemistry of Synthetic Resins by Carleton Ellis (1935). The codes m, l, s, t next to Bakelite stand for molding composition, laminated, soluble type, and turnery type (cast and machined articles).

The second is from Handbook of Plastics by Herbert Simmons and Carleton Ellis (1943). Note that all the products, not just phenolics, are all called Bakelite. This is typical of a lot of chemical companies.

Ellis1935Bakelite.jpg (59.6 KB)  Ellis1943Bakelite1.jpg (35.4 KB)  


Modified by Rosanna at Tue, Apr 02, 2019, 17:12:06

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Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber"
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Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
12/06/2018, 09:52:59

Here's a direct comparison of natural amber vs. high impact polystyrene (HIPS) "lemon amber". Note that HIPS beads can show surface wear, dirt and pitting that makes them look very "natural". In this case the color is a dead give-away. I haven't seen any HIPS beads (yet) that were colored to look more like natural amber, but I suppose they are out there.

Another property that can be confusing is that HIPS is a fairly low density plastic so it may "feel" like real amber. Amber has a density of around 1.05 - 1.10 g/cc, and HIPS, 1.03 - 1.06. The HIPS beads will therefore "pass" the salt water float test used to confirm real amber.

By contrast, other plastics used to imitate amber are higher in density, will "feel heavier" and also sink in the salt water test.

Generic phenolic resins, e.g.Bakelite: 1.36 g/cc
Celluloid: 1.4
polyester: 1.38
Galalith (casein): 1.35
acrylic: 1.17 - 1.20

Note that the density of plastics can vary a bit, due to the very wide variation in formulations that may included additives, dyes, etc., so these values are all approximate. Theoretically, you might, for example, find an acrylic bead that is low enough in density that it will pass the salt water float test.

RFAmberHIPSDec2018.jpg (34.2 KB)  


Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Dec 06, 2018, 10:09:45

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Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber"
Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber" -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: odan Post Reply
12/06/2018, 11:09:01

Yo Rosanna...here's some photos of my real Amber with some fakes tossed in.
I think the colors on these are very close to real.....
Just thought I'd post some for your ideas.

8_a_1.jpg (61.0 KB)  6_a_2.jpg (53.9 KB)  


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Very hard to tell much from these pictures
Re: Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber" -- odan Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
12/06/2018, 15:31:19

Dannoh - your pictures are too blurry to tell for sure, but the ones that appear to have glossier surfaces when compared to the natural amber - are probably phenolic resin beads. The other possibilities are casein, celluloid, and polyester. In other words, almost impossible to say which plastic without direct examination.



Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Dec 06, 2018, 15:32:40

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Fun with beads in Europe - my 2018 trip
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Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
06/21/2018, 10:56:55

Last week I got back from a two month journey to & from Europe, that included many (probably too many!) stops where I combined looking for bead and information about old beads, and general sightseeing and visiting friends.

Here is a map showing my route:
I went by ship from Miami to Barcelona, then onwards to Paris, Neugablonz, Prague, Jablonec, back to Prague, Leipzig, Cambridge, Grantham, London, then back to NYC via the Queen Mary 2.

I'll be posting images from the trip over the next few days. It takes some time to go through photos and prepare them for upload, as you all well know!

EuropeTripMap1.jpg (52.8 KB)  


Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 11:32:37

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Meeting Nishedha in Barcelona
Re: Fun with beads in Europe - my 2018 trip -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
06/21/2018, 11:02:50

I had the great pleasure of meeting Nishedha, a well-known BCN forumite and designer of beaded jewelry. I was delighted to see many of his necklaces that have been posted here, and to also try them on!

Since most have been posted before, I only took a few pictures. First is a picture of Nishedha himself at a local restaurant. Next is a stunning rhodochrosite (I hope I got that correctly) and gold necklace from his collection. I thought that Joyce especially would enjoy this one!

Nishedha18Jun2018.jpg (55.4 KB)  NishedhaPink18Jun2018.jpg (60.2 KB)  


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Old plastics in the Nishedha collection
Re: Meeting Nishedha in Barcelona -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
06/21/2018, 11:10:55

Nishedha was also kind enough to let me look through his entire bead collection. Due to my interest in old plastic beads, my eye was drawn to several items.

The first photo is of two carved pieces that I tested and found they were made of Galalith (casein), a material made from milk protein that dates from 1895.

The second shows some Bakelite (phenolic resin) beads that at first glance look amazingly like old, real amber "slices". Nishedha generously gifted some of these to me for inclusion in my phenolic collection.

NishedhaGalalith18Jun2018.jpg (39.6 KB)  NishedhaPF18Jun2018.jpg (45.8 KB)  


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On to Neugablonz
Re: Fun with beads in Europe - my 2018 trip -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
06/21/2018, 22:32:13

I arrived by train in Kaufbeuren, the small town adjacent to Neugablonz, and managed to walk the few minutes to my hotel right before a huge rainstorm started. If you are unfamiliar with the history of Neugablonz as one of the important German "bead towns", please read Floor Kasper's excellent book, "Beads from Germany". There is a link on the Classified page.

My goal in Neugablonz was to look for information about the German production of phenolic beads. Unfortunately I didn't find anything about phenolic beads but I did learn a bit about the production of other kinds of plastic beads both before and after WWII. Plastic beads made from acrylic are still in production by one company, Bartel, but they are under severe pressure from Chinese companies, who copy the Bartel designs as soon as they come out, and mass produce them very quickly.

I bought one new necklace of German plastic beads at the museum in Neugablonz so I could have an example in my collection.

RFGermanPlasticJun2018.jpg (42.6 KB)  


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Last stop - the UK!
Re: Fun with beads in Europe - my 2018 trip -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
06/22/2018, 12:12:57

From Leipzig I traveled by train to Brussels, where I caught the Eurostar train to London, then onwards to Cambridge by local train. I had an appointment at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to look through beads in the Beck Collection. I concentrated on beads collected in Africa, looking once again for phenolic resin beads. The only items of interest were two mock coral beads that were either Celluloid or Galalith. I cannot post any pictures I took of the Beck beads due to the (highly unfortunate) restrictions mandated by the Museum. I'll be talking to them about their policy, which really prevents any dissemination of the information about their holdings.

I also spent a day in Grantham, at the archive of the Plastics Historical Society. I have a pile of information to digest from that visit as well, but nothing specific to my search for the origin of the imitation amber beads for the African trade, unfortunately.

Finally I landed at Stefany Tomalin's flat, and she organized several days of bead-saturated fun. First I visited her new studio, where she has organized quite a nice pile of items for sale. I bought two Czech Egyptian revival pieces - one is shown here. She also has an amazing stash of all kinds of beads to look through.

We also roamed the Camden Passage antique stores and outdoor tables. I found this Czech lamp work necklace at one jewelry shop.

RFEgyptianJun2018.jpg (71.9 KB)  RFCzechLampJun2018.jpg (32.1 KB)  


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question
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Posted by: aldilfee Post Reply
04/18/2018, 06:55:47

hello
could any one help me to identify this rosary
the outer layer of the beads are oxidized

س1.jpg (18.0 KB)  س2.jpg (14.6 KB)  
H.M.Aldilfee

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Perform a Rub Test
Re: question -- aldilfee Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/22/2018, 14:51:51

With clean hands (no perfume), rub the beads against the heel of your other hand for a minute. then smell them. Since the great proportion of older similar-looking beads were composed from cast phenolic plastics, they will exude a common odor—presenting the smell of carbolic acid. (You can get the same odor by rubbing the black Bakelite handle on a Revereware pan—or any old pan with Bakelite handles.)

If these beads were amber (which they are not), rubbing them for a minute or longer will cause them exude a pleasant piney aromatic aroma.

However, if they make no smell, they are probably a different plastic. You then have to try the brine test, and probably the hot-point test. All this is described in-detail at my online Group devoted to amber:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/amberisforever/info

Good luck. Jamey



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quirky bakelite necklace, art deco maybe?
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Posted by: sammitenn Post Reply
03/29/2018, 02:46:26

Hi all, please take a look at this wonderful necklace made from phenolic plastic and faux, glass pearls, the beads are threaded on a chain which closes with a barrel clasp. on the clasp it says FRANCE but the other marks are illegible, Im assuming they might have been a makers mark.

What say you to the age I was thinking 20's- 30's?????

greenbakelite2.jpg (103.1 KB)  greenbakelite4.jpg (76.7 KB)  


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Have you tested the plastic pieces?
Re: quirky bakelite necklace, art deco maybe? -- sammitenn Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/29/2018, 12:28:30

They could be Galalith or Celluloid instead of Bakelite. Galalith in particular was used for a lot of French costume jewelry in the interwar period, and was in use before Bakelite, in the period 1895 onwards.

Hard to tell what color the plastic curved pieces are - are they black, or translucent?



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Re: Have you tested the plastic pieces?
Re: Have you tested the plastic pieces? -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Sammitenn Post Reply
03/30/2018, 05:43:06

The plastic bits are green, I have done the hot water test and they smell like phenolic resin as a posed to either celluloid or casein. What do you think of the age?



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The interwar period seems likely
Re: Re: Have you tested the plastic pieces? -- Sammitenn Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/30/2018, 10:18:49

I’m not a costume jewelry expert, so that’s a guess.

Also -from what I’ve read, there were still many Bakelite articles being made after WWII, with the steep decline (in favor of other plastics like Lucite) starting about 1960, when major phenolic resin factories began shutting down.

There’s an assumption, which I believe is correct, that during the war, production of luxury goods like costume jewelry (and also trade beads of various kinds) in Europe either ceased or was reduced drastically. However I also think that once the war ended, there could have been a large spike in production due to pent-up demand, and the desire to start earning income as fast as possible. There may have been unused stock from pre-1940 that was put into post-1945 items.

Just some hypotheses on my part...



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Re: Have you tested the plastic pieces?
Re: Have you tested the plastic pieces? -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Sammitenn Post Reply
03/30/2018, 05:43:35

The plastic bits are green, I have done the hot water test and they smell like phenolic resin as a posed to either celluloid or casein. What do you think of the age?



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Some help requested with dating a necklace
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Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
02/27/2018, 08:52:45

I just acquired this necklace with phenolic beads and would appreciate any input about the possible date of assembly. I'm still very focused on dating the introduction of imitation amber beads made of phenolic resin into the African trade, so I found this particular necklace intriguing.

The colored disks are not the usual vinyl - they are Celluloid. I haven't researched Celluloid as much as I have the phenolics, but I believe Celluloid was still in widespread use for beads, jewelry, pen bodies, etc up to 1950, and maybe beyond. However the use of Celluloid disks suggests a date no later than the 40s.

The Venetian beads are definitely pre-1950. The coconut disks are smooth and worn.

The stringing material is a double strand of coated wire. The wire is two strands twisted together. One strand is broken, and it appears that the clear plastic coating is weathered. Does anyone know when this type of coated wire first became available?

That leaves the clasp, a nice solid brass screw-type. it is robust, about 7.8 mm diameter, and has separate pegs with loops on the ends -for attaching the string- that feed through the body of the clasp. Any ideas about the vintage?

RFPFVenetianFeb2018.jpg (46.7 KB)  RFPFVenetianFeb2018a.jpg (31.4 KB)  


Modified by Rosanna at Tue, Feb 27, 2018, 15:34:45

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