Los Angeles − Bonhams is pleased to include Bakelite jewelry once more in its upcoming Period Art & Design auction on Monday Nov 18. Once considered the most affordable form of jewelry prevalent during the Great Depression, this careful collection of World War II themed Bakelite jewelry rarely makes appearance in auction and will be of great interest to collectors. Bakelite has increasingly become more attractive to modern collectors for being brightly colored and showcasing whimsical designs. At the height of its popularity, they were sold in dime stores but now some are valued in the thousands of dollars.
Featured in the jewelry section of this sale, World War II Bakelite jewelry from the collection of Bambi DeVille Engeran will be on offer. Bambi, also known as "The Bakelite Lady of New Orleans" is a seventh generation Louisianan with a rich heritage in antiques. Bambi's discovery of Bakelite came out of a fascination with deco era design and modernist jewelry.
Her book WWII Bakelite Jewelry: Love and Victory, was published in November 2011 and helps to document the story of a country and its allies working together to restore world peace through the emergence of WWII-themed design that became prominent in Bakelite jewelry. Bakelite pins, necklaces and bracelets were not only crafted to express solidarity, patriotism and peace, but also to make use of a new material that was not restricted by rationing and conservation orders during the war.
Concluding the auction is an impressive selection of jewelry from a number of prominent collections such as property from the estate of Margaret Nielsen Steigele. Her father was best known for the Nielsen television ratings which he invented and made into the industry standard. Highlights include an emerald, sapphire and diamond 18k gold bracelet (est. $2,500-3,500); a sapphire, moonstone, diamond and 18k white gold bracelet by Sofia D. (est. $1,500-2,500) and a diamond and tourmaline white gold bracelet (est. $3,000-5,000).
The illustrated catalog and more information on the auction is available online at -
In addition, the items will be available for public viewing from November 15-17, 10am to 5pm at the Bonhams Los Angeles saleroom.