World War II Bakelite Jewelry - Love And Victory

May 23, 2012

By Bambi Deville Engeran
Schiffer Publishing
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-7643-3871-7
Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride. Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Not when you use its more common name - Bakelite. This early plastic was used for a number of things after its development in the early 1900s. Jewelry was one of the most colorful uses. In her book, Engeran shows us how 1940s Bakelite jewelry documents the efforts of patriots in the United States and by their allies to restore world peace. Nearly 200 images of pins, necklaces, bracelets, and more capture true signs of the time - not only crafted to express solidarity, loss, patriotism, and love, but to make use of a new material that was not restricted by rationing and conservation orders. Engeran explains, “In 1941, the world was at war. It was common knowledge that metals were to be reserved for the war effort. In fact, Conservation Order M-162 prohibited the use of platinum and iridium for jewelry. Jewelers then turned to Bakelite, which had been gaining popularity since the Great Depression.” She adds that it was the incredible passion of the women of the period for their loved ones overseas that led to her collecting World War II Bakelite jewelry in the first place. “The manifestation of a ‘Sweetheart’ pin on a woman’s lapel,” she says, was her way of proclaiming, ‘My special guy is away and I will wait for him.’”
Patriots, jewelry lovers, this is a book for you. Check out this nostalgic, beautifully-illustrated volume now.


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