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...

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

A pair of French jet hinged bangles, internal size 6.5 x 4 cm

Vintage opera length facetted jet necklace, length: approx 180 cm

Good vintage opera length facetted jet necklace, length: approx 140 cm

Vintage jet necklace length: approx 130cm (as inspected)

Vintage long jet necklace with large beads interspersed between smaller beads

A Victorian jet mourning brooch, designed as a hand clasping a posy. Length 6.3cm.

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 Victorian jet cuff bracelet, panel links with carved centrepiece on stretch cord

Long graduated French jet necklace approx 100 cm in length

French Jet necklace with pendant, 46 cm long approx (necklace length)

A jet bangle, faceted polished jet beads, matte enamel stainless steel mount, hinged bangle.

Victorian 9ct gold, jet and seed pearl brooch with silver back

A pair of Victorian Whitby jet earrings, 9ct yellow gold, drop earrings, screw-on backings. Weight 9.7g.

A carved jet bracelet. Presented as a slender series of domed panels of polished jet, etched with starburst pattern through centre links, embellished by three large leaf panels, fitted to stretcher.

A jet bracelet, circa 1930's, made as a series of alternating oval polished and larger carved panels of black jet, tapering at reverse to two slender plain polished panels, all connected by stretcher.

A jet and Vulcanite horseshoe with floral detail brooch some damage to the outside band of jet

A pair of French jet Victorian style hinged bangles; internal ovoid diameter 64mm.