Vintage Lucite Jewelry



2015-06-26 10:33:41

Vintage lucite jewelry is a form of costume jewellery made from a type of acrylic plastic known as 'Lucite'.

History & Description

From the 1950s Lucite became a popular material for costume jewelry. It was less expensive to produce than other new plastics at that time, such as Catalin and Bakelite.

Lucite jewelry was popularised in the middle of the twentieth century as it became entwined with the haute couture of Hollywood. Some of the most popular fashion designers of the twentieth century began producing personalised items for the leading female stars, such as Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis.

Having admired these pieces of jewelry, the consumer could then purchase a cheap copy in shops such as Woolworths and Sears & Roebuck. The emergence of Lucite jewelry made it possible for ordinary women to own and wear jewelry glamorised on the big screen.

Guide for collectors

Lucite jewelry is highly desirable to collectors and there is a very competitive market for signed pieces. There are a number of well-known jewelry companies that have produced Lucite jewelry and these represent the most sought after pieces. Amongst the most desired are Chanel, Christian Dior, Crown Trifari, Coro Inc., and Sphinx.

Despite the finely crafted and unquestioned beauty of some of these products, Lucite jewelry is one of the cheapest markets in the jewelry collecting community.

Lucite jewelry is regularly sold through national and international auctioneers. However, prices vary considerably and are determined by an items’ condition, age and makers' mark.

Notable auction sales

On October 20th 2006 at Davidson Auctions in New South Wales, Australia, a Lucite costume jewelry necklace, circa 1960, realised a price of AU$375.

On June 24th 2008 at Bonhams in Los Angeles, California, a carved Lucite and gem-set ring realised a price of $4,800.

On December 7th 2011 at an online only auction offered by Christie’s, two Art Deco Lucite brooches, signed JDB and made in the 1920s, realised a price of $8,400.

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