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  • Literature

    Andrea DiNoto, Art Plastic: Designed for Living, New York, 1984, pp. 43-44 for other examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    Galalith or ‘milk stone’, is the French counterpart to Bakelite or Casein. It was one of the earliest and most versatile plastics of its time. Produced from skimmed milk, curdled with lactic acid and cured by immersion in formaldehyde, it is a similar, but different set of materials which forms the more well-known western material Bakelite.

    The discovery of Galalith, and other similar substances, allowed fashion and jewelry designers to produce new and modern forms which were not previously possible. These materials easily lent themselves to different designs as the material could be dyed, drilled, embossed and cut in a variety of ways, all while being relatively inexpensive to produce. The material was often used to make imitations of other materials; however this entirely new material lent wings to the creativity of more forward-thinking designers who viewed the material as an opportunity to completely revolutionize jewelry design. Designers such as Auguste Bonaz utilized strong linear and color juxtapositions which reflect the changes taking place in such artistic movements as Cubism and Modernism.

48

Important necklace

1920s
Galilith, metal. Impressed “Auguste Bonaz.”
21 3/4 in. (55.2 cm) circumference

Estimate
$6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for $7,200

Design and Design Art

24 May 2007
2pm New York