I have a new obsession ... vintage/retro plastic costume jewelry, especially anything lucite or bakelite.
Bangles, in particular, have caught my fancy, but I am also fond of lucite purses from the '60s, carved bakelite pins or buttons from the '30s and '40s (I really, really want a black Scottie dog pin, but they're $25 or more), and funky lucite rings from the '70s.
Bakelite has a sniff-test as a preliminary gauge of its authenticity. I went to the Tennessee Flea Market this past weekend, and I can only imagine what passers-by must have thought when I rummaged through piles of vintage junk, grabbed a suspicious-looking piece, rubbed my thumb across it until it warmed in that spot, and then sniffed it tentatively. If I smelled the right smell (a distinctive formaldehyde-type scent reminiscent of high school biology lab days), then I was very, very tempted to buy it!
Unfortunately, the best pieces I found (vintage pot-holder loom and a fun green cuff bracelet) were at an antique jewelry booth where the owner new his stuff. I would have had to fork out $20 for the bracelet and more for the "loom".
In the end, I came home with two boxes of vintage buttons (a score were the big red carved buttons I suspect could be bakelite!), a couple of brightly colored children's birthday cards from the '40s, and what I think might be a moonglow plastic bangle bracelet from anywhere from the '60s to the '80s -- I can't tell.