Posted on

How to Polish and Restore The Finish to Dull Bakelite

Sometimes a piece of Bakelite has been made dull from overzealous rubbing or testing, or from age and use. It is possible to restore the original sheen of Bakelite at home. Simichrome polish or Maas Metal polish are small tubes of slightly abrasive (like toothpaste) cream that are sold in hardware stores. Both of these polishes are excellent for restoring the original sheen to Bakelite.

To restore, squeeze a pea-sized amount of polish on a clean soft rag. Rub the cloth all over with a little bit of elbow grease, then polish with a clean cloth. It may take several rounds of polishing the Bakelite but the dullness and light scratches can be removed by employing this method.

Both polishes are also useful in identifying Bakelite. Unless a piece of Bakelite (like black Bakelite) has a coating on it, a small amount of polish rubbed on with a cloth will come away slightly yellow when applied to true Bakelite.

Posted on

Those Annoying Gold Diggers!

There is a type of man you’ll see at an antiques auctions who are 100% guaranteed to annoy me. I call these guys the “Gold Diggers”.

There are some Gold Diggers who have been doing it for a long time, way before gold prices shot up. They don’t bother me because they know what they are doing. It’s the other Diggers who bother me — the bandwagon jumpers who have begun speculating since gold shot up in value.

Gold Diggers can be spotted two different ways. First, they will always have a jeweler’s loupe with them. They crowd the tables of goods and meticulously examine each piece of gold colored metal within sight. I’ve nearly guffawed out loud when watching a man check out a 1970’s Sarah Coventry Austin Powers style swinger’s pendant necklace in goldtone. Obviously these guys don’t know costume jewelry.

As a person who specializes in costume jewelry and looks at jewelry all day long, I can pick out real gold from a distance. That’s because finding a piece of gold in my costume jewelry is like finding a little surprise treasure. (OK, maybe I’m a little bit of a Gold Digger in my heart). I’m like Rainman in the toothpick scene of the Rainman movie. Thrown a pile of jewelry on the floor, and I could spot the tiny gold pin in there within fourteen seconds.

The other way to identify Gold Diggers are by the small digital jewelry scales that they carry with them. I’ve been to auctions where the bidding had to be suspended while a Digger weighed the item and calculated how close to the bone he could cut his bid. Don’t you think he could have done this before the auction started?