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.

Victorian floral carved ivory brooch with rope twist gold frame together with ivory cross pendant, bird brooch and French jet photo locket

Jet good Luck pendant, horseshoe theme on later gold pendant fitting, 35 x 32mm.

Large antique Whitby jet pendant with central decoration

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

A Victorian Whitby jet pendant having an applied central floral design and a decorative foliate border 45mm x 60mm

French jet, mabe pearl and diamond pendant the back of the oval shaped pendant having a gold frame and photograph, mounted with 18ct gold approx weight 17.95gms

A jet cross pendant intricately carved with floral and scroll design

A Victorian jet pendant with a portrait of a girl holding a white dove painted on porcelain, 3.8 x 5 cm

Coral, jet & marcasite Art Deco drop pendant on hand made chain. Made in France c1920, set in sterling silver. It screams Art Deco. Chain is alternating jet and coral beads extremely delicate. In fabulous condition.