An early man-made plastic, celluloid was patented in 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt. He was trying to make a substitute for ivory to be used on billiard balls. The result of his efforts was initially a somewhat flammable material. Later evolutions of celluloid were much less flammable. and were commonly used for jewelry in the early part of the 20th century. One of the problems with celluloid was it’s lack of water resistance Left in water, celluloid will eventually dissolve. If you have celluloid jewelry, you can clean it with water, just don’t soak it for any period of time.

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