They could be Bakelite (phenolic resin)
Re: beads ID, please -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/16/2020, 13:58:24

Hi Nishedha,
Hard to tell without examining / testing in person. The amber-colored ones with the darker edges are probably Bakelite. The reddish ones COULD be Bakelite as well. There are some really excellent beads made from other plastics that look a lot like old Bakelite, which is why you need to run at least one test.

Can you get access to the holes & try the reamer / sniff test? You have some beads that I tested when I visited you - that are definitely Bakelite, so you can use them for odor comparison.

The other test you can run is to try to stick a hot pin or needle (heat to red hot) into the bead (use an inside surface). If the pin goes into the surface easily, you have a newer plastic, either acrylic or polystyrene. If the needle goes in a tiny bit and leaves white crumbs in the hole (use magnification) then you have fairly new polyester. If the needle won't go in at all, and leaves a tiny black mark, you have Bakelite. There are other possibilities but I haven't seen this type of large bead in other plastics. But that doesn't mean there aren't some out there.

Good luck!

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