What is Fakelite? Fakelite is imitation Bakelite that can have the same look, weight, feel, detailing, colors, marbling, and carving style as real, authentic Bakelite pieces. I have heard from others that a few fakelite pieces can even smell like Bakelite!
I wanted to add pictures showing examples of fakelite but I do not want to get in trouble. Most of the Fakelite I encounter has been found on Etsy and eBay and if I post someone's listing pictures, I may find myself in hot water.
So here are some pictures of REAL Bakelite from my collection to familiarize yourself:
Sadly, I have been finding A LOT of fakelite on Etsy recently. The fakelite typically in question is usually a bangle with overly ornate carvings and the colors are too marbled. The bangles are too thick, way too heavy, and the colors are odd. A while back, I saw a bangle that went from red, yellow to green! So fake! What really tips me off when a bangle is fake is the type of carving. I have seen carved dolphins with big bubbles and sea life!
Real Bakelite usually has more simple carvings. You may find real pieces with cut-outs, rhinestones, round grooves that encircle an entire bangle (like a record), leaves, rose petals, etc. But dolphins? FAKE!!!
What burns my biscuits about fakelite is that some sellers will claim a piece passed all the tests (friction, 409, hot water, simichrome, etc) and they will charge Bakelite prices. However, if a piece is listed as 'fakelite' and the price reflects that, then great! I may even buy it if it's cute! But when fakelite is passed off as actual Bakelite, that is wrong!
I recently found a few links for helping distinguish fakelite from Bakelite:
And here is a fabulous post from 2012 by amazing vintage blogger, Brittany, of Va-Voom Vintage:
I wrote this post in the hopes of helping others who may be in the infant stages of starting their own Bakelite collections. If I can give just one bit of advice, I would suggest looking for Bakelite in person especially before venturing online to buy. Many antique malls, antique stores, car boot sales, charity shops, and swap meets will have a few bits of authentic Bakelite for sale. Familiarize yourself with the colors, the smell (do a friction test with your fingers and then smell your fingers), the weight, the sound (Bakelite should have a heavy clunk not a light "tink tink"), marbling, and the carvings. Also, the inside of a real bangle or the back of earrings, brooches, etc will be seamless. There will be no pour marks or branding. The surface may have a patina or age spots. Learn the proper characteristics so when you shop online or visit the antique mall, you will have a better determination of what to buy and what to avoid.