A Lesson in Jet

Like many of you, I adore jet jewellery!

What is jet?

Jet is a type of coal (mineral) that is created by the decomposition of trees. The appearance of jet looks like petrified wood or to me like hardened volcanic ash. There are two types of jet, hard and soft. For more on the composition of jet, visit Antique Jewellery University.

Anchor and Heart Jet Brooch, http://blog.momu.be

Jet Jewellery

Jet has been used to make jewellery dating back to 10,000 BC, however, I’m more familiar with jet jewellery of the Victorian era. Jet jewellery was highly popular in Victorian times, particularly worn whilst one was in mourning. Jet ‘mourning jewellery’ is some of the most incredible and beautiful jewellery ever made, in my opinion.

A few examples of jet ‘mourning jewellery’:

19th Century Jet Mourning Brooch, http://www.diamondstory.com

Whitby Jet Carved Brooch, http://www.blackasjet.co.uk/

Victorian Rose Beads, http://www.beadsociety.org.uk

How to tell if your piece is Jet:

I have a couple of jewellery pieces which I believe are jet, but I’m not certain. I’ve heard the only way to know for sure is if you scrape your item along concrete and it leaves a mark! Well, I don’t think I’ll be trying that. I don’t want to scrape my beautiful pieces on the sidewalk! There must be another way?

According to TVRIGS, you can identify jet in these five ways:

  1. Look for growth rings on the item (as jet comes from trees).
  2. If you scratch a piece of jet on unglazed white pottery, it will leave a brown mark.
  3. When jet is burned, it will smell like coal.
  4. Jet will feel warm to the touch.
  5. Jet will never fade in sunlight.

Real jet, or not, I’m happy with the items in my collection. I don’t plan to scape or burn them, at least not for the time being! ;0


Black Dahlia

9 thoughts on “A Lesson in Jet

  1. Great post. There is not enough posts on the beauty of Jet jewels in blogland. I have a couple of nice pieces of jet. They do feel warm to the touch, although i haven’t tried scraping them on concrete or pottery, ouch! (I may give the latter a go though, as i would like to try and buy more, but i worry that it’s not the real deal.)

    • Thanks for the comments Sofia! I think I need to do another post on Jet to explain the difference between ‘jet’ and ‘French jet’ (which is black glass). A lot of people seem to think they’re one in the same. I wonder too if my jet pieces are the real deal!

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  6. You don’t have to test jet on concrete a kinder way way is to very gently stroke it along a piece of unglazed porcelain like the underside of a ramekin and it will leave a light black mark.
    great blogs btw

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