I got an interesting question from a customer at my website at http://www.bsueboutiques.com just this morning:
She writes: Why do you suggest buying up Japanese plastic beads and findings now?
There was a time when notbody knew or understood bakelite, or respected it.
Now, you can't begin to find even the old bakelite rod, and look at the price of the jewelry or any of the loose components made from this type of plastic....very expensive.
There was a time in the vintage jewelry trade that stuff marked Japan or Hong Kong was the kiss of death....you couldn't sell it to save your life. Everyone devalued it mentally, felt the mark was beneath a collector, and to be honest, it was great stuff. Sheesh, Miriam Haskell used Japanese glass pearls!
The 50's and 60's Japanese and Hong Kong plastic is still to be had at reasonable prices. It's young, fun, trendy, cool! It's worth your time to work with it. New lucite, acrylic and resin beads are twice the price and while they can also be fun, to me---maybe it's cause I just love vintage so much!---they don't have the CHARACTER of the old stuff. I have to this point resisted bringing much of it in to my website, only select metallized pieces or focals.
If you can find the old 50's MOONGLOW lucite, GRAB it and HOARD it. Don't even THINK about it....do it. It is fat, luminous, funky. I remember the time when you couldn't sell the old Coro and Lisner pieces made of it. Now Lisner leaf pieces with the old moonglow are VERY collectable. The moonglow stuff is growing scarcer and it's really wonderful, chunky, dense....fun.
SO what I'm saying is this: it's good to anticipate trends when you find the stuff reasonbly, grab it, play with a bit of it and stash the rest. ;-) I remember when I started out in the antiques/collectables trade many moons ago. I bought up all the old 60's kitsch, lunchboxes, toys, old toasters, funky plastic jewelry I could find. I was laughed at by the REAL antiques dealers. OH HA
Who's laughing now? Buying that stuff up and selling it got me out of the housecleaning trade, into the antiques trade and now, allows me to do what I love for a living.
I hope to make a trip this fall to some of my old haunts and I will definitely be looking for old plastic, you betcha. Past trips have yielded some great pieces. Check out my homepage, you will see a lovely Hong Kong plastic rose pendant I brought back LAST fall. We still have a few. They are INCREDIBLE! You can also go back in the archives of this blog and find a pic of a pretty brooch I made out of one of them.
I mean it, don't miss out on this stuff.