David's Antiques and Jewelry

Mourning Jewelry - Jet

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Jet is famously known as Mourning jewelry of the Victorian Era.

At the height of the Victorian Era, mourning jewelry reached its climax in 1861 when Albert, Queen Victoria of England’s husband passed away. The queen declared her court to wear mourning attire for the next 3 years and mourning jewelry for the next year. The mourning jewelry trend was also adopted in the U.S, as many were perishing as a result of the Civil War.

Jet is a type of lignite, a precursor to coal, but is indeed a gemstone. It has organic origins and is derived from fossilized wood. Although it resembles coal, it is less brittle.
Jet comes from the cliffside town of Whitely, England. Do to the desirability of this gemstone, excessive mining caused the cliffs to collapse. Soon after, it was declared illegal to mine for Jet causing a shortage.

The color of Whitely Jet is unique. Its blackness is so intense that the expression
“as black as Jet” has been a commonly used phrase for hundreds of years.
It is smooth and very lightweight. Because of its characteristics, it makes wearing larger designs very comfortable to wear.

Jet has declined in popularity in these modern times because it has been long associated with mourning.

 Caring and cleaning of your Jet jewelry pieces is very simple. Using only mild soap and water with soft brush is all you need.  Do not use ultrasonic or steam machine for cleaning. Also, store your jet pieces in a separate place than your harder stones to prevent or avoid scratches.

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  • Ester Edry
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