There was an era in jewelry making when plastic reigned–if not
supreme–then at least desirably. It was the 1920’s. Oh what a time
that was. F. Scott Fitzgerald published his first novel.
Professional baseball was severely tarnished when 8 members of the
Chicago White Sox were indicted for throwing the 1919 World Series.
Charlie Chaplin–in the middle of a divorce-- was criminally accused
of giving his wife oral sex. Was the world stranger then than it is
now, I wonder? It was the time of the Flappers…and the
Charleston…and the Black Bottom. It was the time when Mah-jongg
gained prominence as the leading parlor game of the era. It was the
time of Alphonso Capone. It was the time of Plastic.
Lest there are those of you out there who–when thinking of
plastic-- can only think of kiddies playing with those pop-open
beads…I suggest you re- think your thinking. This stuff was not
pinpointed to the hoi-polloi. Society’s upper crust wore the stuff
too. President Harding’s wife and President Coolidge’s wife wore
celluloid elephant chains created by an Art Deco artist of the time.
They also wore celluloid airplanes with Lindbergh’s name on them.
At that time folks…plastic was not cheap. T’warn’t as expensive as
gold, mind you…but it warn’t cheap either. And plastic had the
advantageous property of being able to be molded into any geometric
shape the mind could imagine. And it replaced other expensive
natural materials…such as ivory, and horn, and tortoiseshell.
It was boom-time for manufacturers. Bar pins in plastic were being
studded with rhinestones. Vibrant colors emblazoned the blouses of
the masses. Debates echoed in the offices of those who debate these
things. If it’s made of plastic…is it jewelry? Do we sully our
ancient craft with its traditions and allow these modern materials
that are worked with machinery to be called jewelry? So much blather
in the wind folks. Drivel to keep the pseudo-intellectuals reminded
of their own sense of self-importance. Because jewelry it was…and
jewelry it still is…though today perhaps not of the same quality
and level of creativity that existed back then when the Gibson Girls
There were beads…there were bangles…there were bracelets…there
were pins. Imitation pearls abounded. The time of costume jewelry was
making a speedy trip as it hurtled to the forefront of fashion. It
would never replace the jewels of the major designers. But for those
who wanted fun jewelry for a moderate price…for them plastic
jewelry was–and still is–here to stay.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits…and then click on the link that says: Plastic…where you
will see a graphic of multiple pieces of the time.
And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks. Catch you all
next week. Benjamin Mark
TYLER-ADAM CORP.–Jewelry Manufacturers
E-Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org