Martha Sleeper Matchsticks Necklace and Bracelet Set

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This phenomenal necklace and bracelet set was designed by Martha Sleeper, who was the most famous of the bakelite jewelry designers. Having established herself as a successful actress on both the stage and screen, she turned her attention to jewelry design right at the height of her career. She designed some of the most wonderful, whimsical, preposterous and sometimes odd plastic jewelry that was produced. Her unconventional themes range from the sweet or silly to the weird or mundane, and her sense of humor always shines through.

This set is one of many designs she did with a smoking theme. It is comprised almost entirely of plastic "strike anywhere" matches. There are over 100 matches on the necklace alone. The match sticks are celluloid, and the match heads are done in several different colors of catalin with a contrasting color painted on the tip. The bracelet is elastic, and the necklace has a celluloid chain at the back. The necklace and bracelet were both recently restrung.

It's rare to find such an unusual design as a set. They make an incredibly dramatic statement when worn together.


overall length is 18.5", matches are 2.25" long and span 12" of the necklace

bracelet (unstretched)-

inner diameter is 2", outer diameter is 6.5"
Place of Origin
Early 20th Century
Very good condition- restrung, a few small dings on plastic, the matches have remnants of the glue (which has darkened with age) that was used to construct them
Dealer Location
Chicago, IL
Number of Items
Reference Number
2100 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago IL 60612
(312) 635-5428
1stdibs Dealer since 2009 Located in Chicago, IL
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