Yesterday, I tested my Bakelite Mississippi bangles, one smelt very strongly of diesel and the other had a faint smell. I was told that two marble bangles were French Bakelite which from Internet reading means they are fake Bakelite and smell wrong during the hot water test, however these two smelled when rubbed by thumb and the Mississippi bangles didn't'?
The Hot Water Test extract from http://hubpages.com/hub/Collectibles-Testing-Bakelite accessed 22/04/11
Place the piece beneath hot running tap water for about 10 seconds or until heated thoroughly and then smell. If the scent of formaldehyde is present, it is Bakelite. If the scent of Camphor (similar to Vicks Vapor rub) then it is Celluloid. If the scent of burnt milk is detected, then your piece is Galalith, a milk based French type of Bakelite that will also not react to the 409 or Semichrome test.
It didn't give all this detail in the book! Apparently if it smells, it should require further testing as old Bakelite smells different to 50s. What most articles seem to agree if you do the thumb test and its a sharp smell it should be bakelite and if you do the hot water test and their is a strong smell it should be bakelite. But since fakelite is believed to pass all the tests, chemical testing is required.
Save the mommy gives a receipe for making a 409 cleaner, wonder if this is any good http://www.saveathomemommy.com/2010/01/make-your-own-409-household-cleaner/ accessed 22/04/11
Seller a_hill_thrill has kindly written a detailed reporting on testing for a Bakelite and recommends using Simichrome Metal Polish to get a true result. On eBay you are looking to spend at least £12 to get it from America. I am going to visit my local hardware shop to see if I can get lucky http://reviews.ebay.com/A-HILL-THRILL-GUIDE-HOW-TO-TEST-FOR-BAKELITE-PLASTIC_W0QQugidZ10000000000099629
And Happy Easter, I plan to finish of the vogue dress, hopefully I can reduce the fullness in the skirt and eat M&S Hot cross buns and Easter eggs.