Monday, June 7, 2010
Vintage Jewelry Spotlight- Moonglow Lucite!
Here is me, wearing a vintage, 1950s necklace made with green moonglow beads. I bought this piece from a vintage boutique in Lower Manhattan in February 2007. When I saw its intense green color flashing under the store lights, I knew I had to have it! Until I bought this necklace, I had never seen, let alone heard of moonglow before. After being introduced into the world of vintage lucite/plastics, I became hooked! I began searching eBay for anything moonglow. Over the last few years, I have collected items like my baby-pink hued, beaded necklace and bracelet set, a pair of olive green ball earrings, a 14mm pearl-white beaded necklace, a luscious cherry red, bead necklace, and a thin, tangerine orange bangle that still has its 29 cent price sticker still intact on the inside.
So, what is Moonglow? It is a form of lucite that first gained popularity in the 1940s and 50s. Moonglow gets its name due to its moon-like shine and schiller when light hits its surface. It has a moonstone, almost cats' eye look that seems it has its own inner light.
Moonglow lucite was made into earrings, bangle bracelets, beads, buttons, and man-made cabochons that were set into earrings and brooches. Moonglow came in many colors ranging from bright sunshine yellows, bold blues, radiant reds, soft pastels to deep emerald greens. Although moonglow was primarily fashionable during the 40s and 50s, it continued to be used in jewelry until the 1960s.
So, how was it made? Moonglow is comprised of acrylic resin and of heat-set plastic. This process was called "thermosetting." Unlike today's comtemporary plastics that feel hollow and insubstantial, vintage lucite, especially moonglow, has a nice weight to it. It feels strong and cool against the skin.
So, where can a vintage girl buy herself some moonglow? Websites like eBay and Etsy are chock-full of moonglow jewelry! The prices range from an average of $14.00 to $40.00 USD. I have found many auctions and online sales featuring necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and sets. I could go nuts buying more moonglow myself but have already amassed quite a collection as it stands. What I do need is a nice red, 40s/50s handbag! I am still looking for the "one."
Anyway, if moonglow jewelry is your 'cup of tea' and/or you are looking to start, I wish you happy hunting!