The tone, sheen, lightness, and style of this mid-20th-century aluminum necklace commanded attention, although its material was by then commonplace. But a necklace made from aluminum in the previous century would have been a great luxury since aluminum was so difficult to refine from its ores. It was only after Charles Hall and Paul Héroult discovered an electrolytic means of refining aluminum that it became one of the cheapest metals available.
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Bakelite billiard ball
©2010 Chemical Heritage Foundation