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

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

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.

Good Victorian Whitby jet bracelet with fine gold and seed pearl decoration. Marked 'Skelhorns Patent'.

A Whitby jet bracelet and pair of earrings. The bracelet designed as rectangular shaped polished panels of black jet, alternating in size and set to a stretcher bracelet, along with a lovely pair of antique drop earrings, 9ct yellow gold, of barrel form wi

An antique jet cameo bracelet; plaque links to a central panel set with a carved shell portrait cameo

A Victorian jet bracelet; 18 cm faceted plaque link bracelet United by 9ct gold links to a 9ct gold box clasp with safety chain