Learn about Jet

Jet is a dense black fossilised wood, almost like coal, and very light in weight. It is easy to cut, so carved well.

It became popular in the Victorian era for mourning jewellery, which became fashionable after the death of Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert in 1861.

The latter part of the Victorian era was characterised by the sentimentality associated with mourning. Black has been the colour for mourning in the Western world since at least the Roman Empire, and as well as jewellery, the period saw the colour used in furniture, clothing and stationery as a mark of respect to the deceased.

Jet was in abundant supply around Whitby in Yorkshire and so jet became the obvious material for this type of jewellery. Some jet was also imported from Spain at the height of its popularity in order to meet demand.

As well as factories producing jet items, carving of the material became a cottage industry, with the fruits of labour displayed in the front window of houses in and around Whitby.

Jet may show marks of the carver's tools unlike Vulcanite, a similar coloured material which was moulded into shape. more...

Learn about Locket

A locket is an item of jewellery, usually a pendant worn on a chain around the neck, that is hinged and opens to reveal a space, sometimes called a "keepsake compartment", used for storing a a personal memento, such as a miniature, a photograph or strands of hair. Other styles of lockets are worn as a brooch or bracelet. They have been around in various forms since the 15th century, but reached the peak of their popularity in the 19th century, when sentimentality was part of the national psyche. They are most commonly made of gold or silver, often decorated with precious or semi-precious stones and come in many shapes including ovals, hearts and circles.
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Victorian Vulcanite and jet locket pendants, vulcanite with cameo of young woman with grapes in her hair, bun and bale missing, jet set with seed pearls, some repairs, locket compartment on reverse

A silver gilt jet and seed pearl pendant/locket, c.1890. The locket is hinged with a keepsake compartment

A jet locket; with foliate engraved front panel, 40 x 33mm

A Victorian jet mourning locket; front panel features a finely engraved monogram with plaited hair compartment to rear, 58mm drop.

Victorian French jet photo locket front set single half pearl on gold star pattern

A carved jet locket the large oval locket depicting inticately carved birds in a treed natural setting with engraved and glazed interior panels

A Victorian onyx mourning locket, the oval locket set to the centre with an enamel and paste set cross and having a glazed reverse suspended from an opera length strand of French jet faceted beads