E491 Jet Carved Bracelet front and Band of French Jet Links:


The hand-carved Natural Jet bracelet front design, the mid-19th Century. The band of this bracelet is made of French Jet backed by metal that was enameled. The circa date is 1850 to 1855 approximately.
French Jet is Glass used in Mourning Jewelry in the Victorian time period to look like Whitby Jet.
Information on Jet:
Jet is a type of brown coal used since the Stone Age for personal adornment. Formed from the fossilized wood of a Jurassic period tree that upon dying, often ended up as driftwood that was swept out to sea. From driftwood it became waterlogged debris, sinking and eventually being buried under many layers of mud, decaying organisms and other aquatic detritus. Under great pressure for millions of years and with all of the requisite elements, ordinary driftwood is thus transformed into the gem we refer to as jet. The necessary ingredients and chemistry were present in abundance on the north-eastern coast of Great Britain 180 million years ago, in particular, the area around the fishing port of Whitby, Yorkshire.
Gathered from what could be found loose on the ground, the jet was used to carve decorative objects, beads, and jewelry since ancient times. Mining from the cliffs around Whitby began as early as 1500 BC During the Roman occupation this area was excavated in search of the velvety black gem to make jewelry, dagger handles, carvings, dice and hairpins that were exported throughout the Roman Empire.
During the Medieval era, jet was used by the monks of Whitby Abbey to carve rosaries and religious jewelry. In other locations around Europe and North America, where the jet was mined, it was primarily carved into amulets, religious items, and jewelry.
It was not until the unprecedented demand for mourning jewelry during the Victorian era of the 19th century that excavations of jet in Whitby became extensive. Forty years of mourning began with the death in 1861 of Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert, and ended only with her own death in 1901. Jet's rich black color made it a very popular gem during this period. After the period of mourning ended it is perhaps not surprising that a more colorful palette was welcomed and Jet and other black jewelry that had been in such high demand, quickly fell into obscurity. Many items have survived in good condition from the Victorian period in spite jet's low ranking on the Moh's Scale of Hardness.

There are two types of jet, referred to have hard and soft even though they are both fossilized wood and relatively soft. Hard jet is believed to have been formed in the presence of salt water and soft jet in fresh water. Their appearance is relatively the same, but soft jet is a good deal more brittle and fragile than hard. The mining areas for this intense black material were, apart from the main source in Whitby - hard jet, Spain, France and North America - soft jet. The real jet front area of the bracelet is 1 inch long and 1/2 of an inch wide X 1/2 of an inch deep. The bracelet has been restrung with elastic cord and is strong to wear, this is the original way the bracelet pieces would have been put together. It is in very fine condition, some tiny chips on the Jet front edges.

Price: $150.00