Monday, October 19, 2009

The Art of Faking It

The idea of wearing jewelry made with fake gems used to make me cringe.
What is tackier than plastic turquoise!?

But then I started using vintage beads and far from looking cheap I found some amazing high quality materials. Vintage costume jewelry manufacturers were wizards of chemistry! The invention of plastics beginning in the late 1800s (celluloid, Bakelite, Lucite) also allowed us women folk of average means the possibility to wear expensive-looking jewelry.

Beyond imitation, these plastic (and some glass) gems have a unique quality all their own.

If you still hold dear to the notion that it's tacky you might want to drop your mouse and slowly walk away because you might change your mind after looking at some of my favorites:)

Wood Rose Beads

These babies are from rare vintage bead supplier EurekaEureka. I have used these Lucite beads in some of my jewelry and they really do look and feel like hand-carved wood!

Faux Turquoise cabochons

Tiny plastic faceted cabs from Brassgoldbeads that I am wearing at this very moment in the form of stud earrings. Some of the best faux turquoise coloring I've seen - they would cost a fortune if they were real turquoise!

 Faux Elephant Ivory Beads

From vintage bead supplier DestashWalrus these beautiful celluloid beads have incredible veining like that of real ivory!

Faux Jade Cabochons

The color in these cabochons from vintage bead supplier yummytreasures are mouth watering! They have subtle color washes that you'd find in real Jade. Made of glass but made to look like carved Jade.

Faux Amber

These Lucite beads from Vintagebeadnut are amazing! What's even more interesting is that they have more in common with real amber than do other faux stones with their counterparts: Amber comes from ancient plant material that has been spared the decomposition process like petroleum (hey it's organic!) from which plastics like Lucite are made.
Amber is even warm to the touch like plastic!

Faux verdigris

I purchased these beads from blacksheepbeads and I can attest to their similarity in color and texture to a natural verdigris patina on metal but they have the added advantage of being much lighter!

Faux Rutilated Quartz

How awesome are these!? These gorgeous cabochons from stdymphnasupplies have tiny lengths of metallic thread embedded in clear Lucite. Beautiful!


  1. great article, and thanks for the mention! I always love to look at pics of yummy vintage beads. :)

  2. thank you for including me in your wonderful and beautiful article about vintage beads. i have already had some "traffic" for the ivory beads and a potential large order going to Hamburg, Germany!
    your mention spurred me to list the rest of the sizes in my inventory and get them out to the people who can utilize them in their gorgeous creations! thank you from Pamela

  3. lucite bestills my heart - great to see your favs

  4. awesome! I'm planning on posting individual articles about celluloid, Lucite and other vintage materials. so cool!