Happy weekend lovelies!
I know it has been ages since my last post, my humble apologizes. To answer some of the email queries: 1) I am alive 2) the blog is not going to be deleted and 3) I hope to resume more regular posting.
I’ve been having trouble adjusting to some of ‘life’s circumstances’, but will try harder to make time for posting. I will respond to emails and comments just as soon as I can (I have limited net access). Now, let’s get down to brass tacks!
I love and adore Pop-it beads! What are Pop-it beads? Plastic, lucite, celluloid or polyethene beads that pop, or snap together to form necklaces, bracelets and earrings. They are also known as ‘Pop Beads’, ‘Snap Beads’ or ‘Snap-it Beads.’
Pop-it beads started being produced in the early 50s as an inexpensive alternative to real pearls and other jewellery. This meant that all women, no matter their budget, could afford a higher-end look by buying the plastic alternative at the ‘Five and Dime’ Store. Pop-it beads were a huge fad in the 50s & 60s with girls, teenagers and women.
I have been collecting and coveting Pop-it beads for many years now, as influenced by my mother. Everytime one of us gets a new strand, the other benefits by getting their fair share. Which reminds me, I need to mail my mom some of my latest acquistion!
Not too long ago, I purchased the below ‘As-You-Like-It’ cherry red Pop-it beads from the great vintage costume jewellery manufacturer, Coro. They are, without a doubt, one of the most exquisite examples of Pop-its I have ever seen *swoons*. They still include their original Coro tag and price tag; they were originally sold for $2.00.
Colours & Styles
1950s Pop-it beads came in a variety of colours, sizes, shapes and styles. The beads were originally sold in very long strands, approximately 50-60 inches long. They were sold at this length so the customer could pop them apart to make a variety of necklaces, bracelets, etc. One could even wear them as a belt if they so desired!
Women of the 50s bought Pop-it beads in droves. This was an extremely popular novelty with women buying many strands of varying colours and mixing and matching their pieces. Choker style Pop-it bead necklaces were also available and usually came with matching earrings. One could buy seperators and attachments for their strands to make their own chokers and unique styles.
Pop-it beads came in a variety of colours: bright rainbow colours, pastel shades, gold & silver, autumn colours, etc. In the 50s, the rainbow colours were more popular with girls and the pastel and gold & silver shades more popular with grown women. The sheen on the beads was either pearlized, matte or shiny.
The most popular variety with women was the white pearlized strands, which were fashioned to look like real pearls. These are also the most commonly found variety today. You often see these strands at yard sales and flea markets.
Shapes & Sizes
The most common Pop-it bead shape is round, but other shapes were manufactured such as oval and barrel-shaped. I have a variety of shapes and sizes in my collection. It’s really fun to mix and match the shapes, sizes and colours for a truly unique vintage look!
The round Pop-it beads came in a few different sizes. I’m not sure how to measure the different sizes accurately, so I’ll just provide an image to illustrate, with three different sized strands. The smallest size strands were more commonly worn by girls, with the medium and larger sizes worn by women.
Buying & Value
Several companies manufactured Pop-it beads in the 50s including Coro, Richelieu and companies in Hong Kong. Pop-it beads are still being manufactured today and are readily availiable at toy stores and online.
Pop-it beads that were cheaply made in the 50s, haven’t stood the test of time. You will often come across a strand where the coating is flaking or the beads are sticky. However, don’t let that disuade you from buying them. You can always chip off the remaining coating and remove the stickiness.
Pop-it beads that were made by higher-end companies like Coro are very well preserved. According to an eHow article, the reason for this is that “better brands used a thermoset technique that baked the color into the bead.”
Pop-it beads are readily available and you can come across them at flea markets and yard sales. They are also available online at antique jewellery stores, Etsy and Ebay. If you buy online, be careful as sellers can (and do) pass off 80s and present day Pop-it beads, as 50s strands.
Prices for Pop-it beads range anywhere from $1 to $65, depending on the condition, colour and length. Pop-it bead sets that come with their original earrings appear to sell for higher prices.
Do you have any Pop-it beads?