During part of the 80s and almost all the 90s if Barbie was characterized by something it was for her ... plastic, trendy, sometimes oversize, earrings among other things.
Barbie's earrings were miniatures of real life pieces but what at first may seem like simple plastic pieces, the real deal was not simple at all in the middle of the 20th century at the noon of plastics when Lucite was born.
Lucite (polymethyl methacrilate) as a thermoplastic acrylic material was developed by Dupont for military applications at the end of the 20s, but later they sold licenses to #jewellery firms that embraced the material for its possibilities, resistance and low costs, which made it play in another division compared to other plastic materials already in the market like bakelite, galalith or catalin allowing to make opaque, translucent or transparent pieces with materials embedded like glitter or abalone.
In the 50s and 60s it was a true boom and it could also be seen in small purses or heels and, although Lucite was specifically the material manufactured by Dupont, we ended up calling all similar composition plastics "lucite" in a phenomenon similar to that of Kleenex to name any paper tissue.
With this I'm not saying that Barbie's jewellery was made from lucite, what I mean to show is the beginning of the plastic jewellery that brought us a revolution in costume jewellery and changed the game rules for future materials and trends, thing that Barbie reflected in her jewellery with the passage of time.
If we go to those times we can see Marilyn or Elizabeth Taylor in lucite accessories in the 50s or Twiggy in full 60s Swinging London mood modelling for Vogue in lucite jewellery. Now lucite pieces are very collectible for they reflect as well their period in history and, like Barbie, take us to a time that many of us didn't live.
Never underestimate the power of polymethyl methacrilate!