Look for Jewelry From the 1920s at Estate Sales

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The 1920s were a real game changer when it came to fashion. Gone were the corsets, high necklines, and low hemlines of the late Victorian and Edwardian ages. Gone were the fussy, intricate, and overly done Art Nouveau styles. Instead, low necklines, higher hemlines, and less restrictive clothing were favored. Arts Decoratifs, or art deco, became the rage in everything from architecture to jewelry. 

Art Deco

The art deco style started out in Paris. An exposition was held there in 1925. It featured smooth, clean lines, with a modern feel. It also mixed in very luxurious materials. Some of those materials would have made it difficult for the average person to purchase. However, the '20s were also a time of invention and creation, and costume jewelry also became very popular. 

Costume Jewelry

While people may consider costume jewelry to be synonymous with fake jewelry, the fact is that it really should be in a class of its own. Costume jewelry was made up of things like plastics and semi-precious stones. This meant that most people could afford at least some pieces and it didn't cost an arm and a leg to be able to wear some kind of jewelry and be "dressed up." 


Bakelite is one of the plastics that made jewelry more affordable. Bakelite first started made in the early 1900s and really came into its own in the '20s and later. Bakelite was used in all kinds of things. Everything from radios and telephones as well as bracelets and rings were made out of the material. It was also easy to make colored Bakelite, which meant people were able to get bright colored jewelry. Since Bakelite was moldable, it was also found in a variety of shapes. For example, a jewel created out of Bakelite doesn't have to be smooth and round, it could also look like it was cut in a cabochon style. 

Bakelite has become tremendously popular. One place that people go to find it is estate sales. There are a lot of people who are holding on to Bakelite jewelry and may not even realize it. However, there are pieces out there that look like Bakelite but aren't, so people looking for it need to be careful. One sign that a piece is made out of Bakelite and not celluloid is that the Bakelite would be heavier than the same piece made out of celluloid. 

Vintage jewelry is always popular. With jewelry from the 1920s, there are a lot of different kinds of pieces that can be found at places like estate sales. You can also check out antique stores like Crissy Galleries and see their selection.