Learn about Vulcanite

Discovered around 1839, Vulcanite was patented by Charles Goodyear in 1846. It is essentially a rubber compund that has been hardened by the addition of chemicals and heat. It is mostly black in colour and was used as a substitute for jet, which is a fossilised wood, black in colour and similar to coal. Vulcanite items can be highly polished when manufactured, but over time they become dull and the black colour fades to a dark brown. The process is accelarated if the Vulcanite is contatnly exposed to strong light. Vulcanite items will be moulded, whilst jet items are carved, and this difference can be used to distinguish between the two materials. Because of their colour, both Vulcanite and jet were used for mourning jewellery. As well as its use in jewellery, Vulcanite was also used for vesta cases, buttons, combs, fountain pens and in the manufacture of cameras.
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 jet and Vulcanite horseshoe with floral detail brooch some damage to the outside band of jet

A Victorian vulcanite necklace and floral pendant vulcanite; English; Vulcanite has oxidised red/brown colour; fair condition 30 cm long

Very long vulcanite necklace, can be worn as long necklace or doubled over with smaller links worn as the shorter loop

An unusual Vulcanite Albert chain; bi coloured graduated oval links with two swivel clasps. Length 51 cm.

A Victorian Vulcanite mourning locket, oval, with a wreath motif

A Venitian glass suite and a Vulcanite necklace; 42 cm glass bead necklace with matching bracelet and drop earrings together with an 80 cm vulcanite bead necklace.

A vulcanite cameo pendant and chain the teardrop shaped cameo of a woman in profile suspended from a vulcanite chain of graduating rectangular and circular links total length 50 cm

An antique vulcanite cross pendant, the large pendant set in relief to the centre with a stylized cross and carved initials 'IHS'

A Victorian vulcanite necklace circa 1880, comprising graduated oval links terminating in a carved decorative cross pendant total length 51 cm

A collection of Victorian jewellery, comprising a 15ct gold starburst pendant/brooch set with pearls a 9ct gold bar brooch set with a sapphire and pearls and a carved vulcanite pendant