1. Testing by SoundListen for the "clunk" when two pieces of Bakelite are tapped together. This very distinctive sound is often heard when two or more Bakelite bangles are worn at the same time. Try tapping two pieces of another type of plastic together, and compare the sound to two pieces of true Bakelite the next time you're out shopping where Bakelite is on display.
2. Testing by FeelConsider the weight of a piece of plastic, especially jewelry. Bakelite feels heavier, more dense when compared to other types of plastics. Hold another piece of plastic in one hand, and a piece of Bakelite of approximately the same size in the other. You'll notice the heavier feel of the Bakelite.
3. Testing by SmellRub the item in question vigorously with your thumb until you feel the plastic heat up. Then, before it cools, take a whiff. A distinct chemical odor similar to formaldehyde will linger with most genuine Bakelite. This often takes a bit of practice. Some noses find better results when the piece of plastic is placed under hot running tap water before sniffing it. This test works well with Bakelite bangle bracelets.
4. Testing by Sight - Inspect the Piece CloselyLook for wear scratches and patina that new pieces of plastic don't normally exhibit. Also look for tiny chips on the edges of carving. Examine the piece with a jeweler's loupe or another type of magnifyer, if needed. Generally, an old piece of Bakelite will not be free of some minor scratching and wear, even though it is in excellent condition by a collector's standards.