Tip for plastic jewelry collectors: how to test Bakelite

Testing by Sound
Listen for the “clunk” when two pieces of Bakelite are tapped together. This very distinctive sound is often heard when two or more Bakelite bangles are worn at the same time.
Testing by Feel
Consider the weight of a piece of plastic. Bakelite feels heavier, more dense when compared to other types of plastics.
Testing by Smell
Rub the item in question vigorously with your thumb until you feel the plastic heat up. Then, before it cools, take a whiff. A distinct chemical odor similar to formaldehyde will linger with most genuine Bakelite. Some noses find better results when the piece of plastic is placed under hot running tap water before sniffing it.
Testing by Sight – Using Simichrome Polish
Simichrome Polish is a non-abrasive cream used to clean metals. You can also use it to test Bakelite for authenticity. Sparingly apply to a soft cloth and gently rub a small spot on the inside or back of the item being tested. If it’s Bakelite, the cloth should turn yellow with ease. If a piece is laquered, it may test negative. Black Bakelite pieces often fail this test as well.