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Victorian jet Jewelry Information  
TO PURCHASE: You are on a reference page of Morning Glory Antiques & Jewelry. These items were photographed from private collections, and are for reference only.
Victorian jet jewelry Jewelry for sale can be seen by clicking here.

 

 


  During part of the Victorian period from about 1860 to 1890, this jewelry was the height of fashion and black was a stylish color, not just an ornament of mourning. Made of jet, vulcanite, bog oak or pressed horn, each carried special meaning as a memento of a loved one. A brooch in the shape of a hand carrying a bouquet conveyed a message symbolized by the flowers. Photos might be housed inside lockets and watch fobs, and portraits hand painted on pendants and earrings. While some black jewelry was meant to be worn during mourning, black jewelry was fashionable as well, and worn for its beauty and sentiment.
 

 

   VICTORIAN lady wearing a vulcanite cameo brooch and earrings. Carte de Viste marked "Lonsdale Abell, Kendall Lane, St. John's Hill, Leeds".

    VICTORIAN lady wearing a portrait pendant set in jet on a black neck ribbon and a bog oak oval brooch at her neckline. Carte de viste size 2-1/2" by 4-1/4", marked "R.P. Skeolan, Harrogate" on the front and "miniature painter" on the back.  View

   VICTORIAN lady wearing a vulcanite hand brooch on her lacy necklace and faceted jet bracelet on her arm. Carte de viste size 2-1/2" by 4-1/8", marked W.J. Wellsted & Son, 19 & 20 Paragon St, Hull on both front and back, and "Photographers of the Prince & Princess of Wales" along with "Copies can be had at any time or an enlargement finished in oil or watercolors" on the back. Back also has a birds and bamboo design.  View

 

   VICTORIAN hand carved Whitby jet and shell cameo brooch with Greek key design edge, 2" by 1-3/4".   View   #V29821

    VICTORIAN Whitby jet setting with a pink hand carved shell cameo brooch, circa 1870, 1-5/8".   View  View   #V29217

  VICTORIAN Whitby shell cameo set in Greek key motif carved jet brooch on gold plaque back, circa 1870, 1-5/8".   View   #V28766

 

VICTORIAN large pink shell cameo set in jet brooch with pendant loop, 2-1/3". The lovely lady has roses in her hair and is a left-facing profile.    View   #V33162

 

VICTORIAN shell cameos set in jet brooches and earrings.    #Victjetcams

 

 

   VICTORIAN cameo brooch of Nyx, Goddess of the Night in "Night with her Children". Hand carved pink shell is set in jet, circa 1860, 2-1/8" by 1-3/4". Beautifully hand carved to depict 'Night' after a relief done by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1815. She carries her twin children Hypnos, god of sleep, and Thanatos, god of death. Her wings spread over the earth to create the dark of night. The owl, bird of the night, is one of her attributes. This brooch was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 52, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.     View   View   #V33163

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet and cameo brooch, 1-7/8" by 1-1/2".   View   #V31295

  VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved signed brooch with hinge and c-catch and a pendant loop on the back. Signed jet pieces are very rare treasures. The subject is the Madonna with "Ecce Ancilla Domini" (The Annunciation) lettered on the front, set in gold tone, 2-1/3". The maker's signature is, "From John Harland, jet ornament, made in Whitby". Mr. Harland worked in New Quay circa 1867. Most of the jet pieces that were signed were marked to be entered into a competition. This piece came from the collection of Helen Muller, author of "Jet" the best book on Victorian jet and vulcanite jewelry. This brooch was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 52, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.    View   View   #V29163

  VICTORIAN Whitby jet and pink shell cameo brooch, crack at base of cameo, 2-1/8" by 1-7/8".   View   View   #V29888

 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet intricately carved brooch with center portrait hand painted on porcelain and signed "A" by the artist, one small 1/8" fleabite on a back edge and invisible from the front, 2-1/4" by 2". Flea bites are typical of jet of this age and these are barely noticeable except under magnification. I love the colorful contrast of the lady against the black jet. 

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections.  It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.  Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.  View   View   #V36479 

  VICTORIAN Whitby jet brooch of an angel with wings carved by John Hoggarth, fabulous carving but with two minute fleabites under her hair, 2" by 1-3/4". Flea bites are typical of jet of this age and these are barely noticeable except under magnification. Carver signed pieces like this are extremely rare and were often made for competitions.

This very special piece is from the personal collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery.  I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private jet collections. tt is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.  Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.  View   #V36476

VICTORIAN Whitby jet oval flowers and leaves brooch with a wheat sheaves and balls edge, large, lovely and heavily carved with terrific detail, 2-1/4" by 2". There are two minute flea bites on the back only. Flea bites are typical of jet of this age and these are barely noticeable, just mentioned for accuracy. 

This very special piece is from the personal collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections.  It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet. Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject. View  View    #V36503  

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet pink shell cameo with beautifully pierced edge, 2". 

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections. It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject. View   #V36458  

  VICTORIAN Whitby jet shell cameo bracelet with male god bust and faceted links, 6-3/4" relaxed size and 1-1/4" wide at front, 1" at back, very tiny flea bites at some edges. Flea bites are typical of jet of this age and these are barely noticeable, just mentioned for accuracy.

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery.  I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections.  It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet. Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.  View   #V36455   

VICTORIAN Whitby jet shell cameo brooch with the carved design of a lady picking fruit with her village in the background, wonderful depth of design, 2" by 1-5/8". 

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery.  I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections.  It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.  Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet", are the best books written on the subject.  View   #V36499

 

VICTORIAN Whitby Jet Mary Queen of Scots brooch, and earrings, brooch is large but has a tight hairline crack, brooch size is 2" by 1-5/8", earrings 10k wires, 1-1/2" total length. The crack is visible under 10k magnification only. The earrings have a Greek key border and the brooch does not, so they aren't an exact match. The flower tops on the earrings are probably not original but they do work well with the cameos.     View   View   View   View   #V34588

VICTORIAN Whitby jet set cameo brooch with a bird both in the cameo and on the frame, an unusual one-of-a-kind piece all hand carved and finished, circa 1870. The seated lady has a Grecian hairdo and classical look, seated on a pile of stones and musing on the bird on her finger. Do note that there is a slight and stable crack along right side of the cameo itself but it is firmly attached to the jet so very safe, 2-1/4" by 1-3/4".   View   View   #V33688

  VICTORIAN jet Tyrolean boy brooch with beaded rim around the portrait, 2" by 1-3/4".   View  #V36054

 

  VICTORIAN Whitby jet brooch with inset hand painted porcelain "Tyrolean boy", 1-3/4". These plaques were made in Austria and sent to Whitby, England, to be mounted in jet for jewelry. They are a young Tyrolean boy, but are also called the "gypsy boy" or "green boy".   View   #V29224

VICTORIAN painted porcelain miniature set in jet Tyrolean boy portrait brooch, circa 1870, 2-1/8". These plaques were made in Austria and sent to Whitby, England, to be mounted in jet for jewelry. They are a young Tyrolean boy, but are also called the "gypsy boy" or "green boy". For a similar piece see page 32 in Helen Muller's "Jet Jewellery and Ornaments"  View   #V25351  

VICTORIAN vulcanite green boy pendant, 2-5/8".   View   #V28876

 

  
VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand painted child on porcelain brooch, 1-1/3".    View   #V29291  VICTORIAN vulcanite full face cameo brooch with carved Greek key border, 2-1/3".   View   #V28834  VICTORIAN jet carved brooch set with a small green Tyrolean boy portrait on porcelain, 1-1/3".   View   #V29138

 

 
  VICTORIAN jet oval deeply carved flowers brooch with scallop and bead edging, 1-7/8".   View   View   #V28789  VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved cameo brooch and earrings matched set in original box, brooch 1-7/8" by 1-1/2", earrings 2-1/8" by 7/8". This set was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 50, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.    View   View   View   View   View   View   View   View   #V31827      VICTORIAN jet lily-of-the-valley hand carved brooch, 1-1/3" by 1-1/8".  View   #V31207

 

VICTORIAN vulcanite bird brooch, very three-dimensional, 2-1/3".   View   #V29816

  VICTORIAN jet and hand painted on porcelain lady in pink and blue portrait brooch, Greek key design edge, 1-7/8" by 1-1/2". This brooch was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 52, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.     View   #V29889

VICTORIAN vulcanite bird brooch registry mark stamped on pin back "Rd No 15623", 2-1/2" .   View   View   #V31773

 

  VICTORIAN Whitby jet and hand painted cherubs brooch and earrings with a beautifully carved setting with flowers, leaves and branches designs, earrings 2-1/2" total length including the wires, circa 1870.  View   View   View   View   #V37737

 VICTORIAN  jet brooch with portrait center of two boys and their dog on a picnic, charming and circa 1870, 2-1/8" by 1-3/4".  View   #V36809

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved brooch with a pietra dura inset of flowers.   #VHM2

 

 

VICTORIAN jet and green Gypsy boy set of a brooch and earrings, crazing to back of earring but in jet, brooch 2-1/3" by 2", earrings without loops 1-1/3", total length 2-1/4".   View   View   View   #V38369

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved matching brooch and earrings with delicate floral pierced and carved design.  View   #VHM4

 

 

 VICTORIAN vulcanite blackberry pin, 2".   View   #V27898

VICTORIAN pietra dura set in jet brooch with white rose, daisy and buds and green leaves, 2-1/8" by 1-3/4". This brooch was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 52, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.    View   #V32743

VICTORIAN lady wearing a pair of jet earrings and a fern brooch. R. Riter & Co. Photographers, Bombay & Poona, India.  View   View   View

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved and pierced oval brooch, circa 1880, 1-7/8" by 1-1/3". This brooch has a clean-lined design for such a true antique piece.   View   #V33558

VICTORIAN jet and pietra dura brooch, 1-1/2" by 1-/78".   View   #V33507

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved and pierced knot brooch, circa 1880, 1" by 1-1/2". This symbol of infinity could have referred to eternal love.    View   #V33621

 

      VICTORIAN jet carved rose, lily-of-the-valley and forget-me-nots flowers brooch, has a chip on back, not visible when worn, 1-3/4".   View   #V28871

    VICTORIAN jet carved oval roses pin, 1-3/4".   View   #V28194      

   VICTORIAN vulcanite oval brooch covered in fuchsia flowers, symbol of humble love, 1-3/4".  View    #V25884

 

VICTORIAN Whitby hand carved jet cameo brooch, 1-7/8" by 1-1/2".   View   View   #V31553

VICTORIAN jet carved oval fern leaf brooch w/pendant loop, 1-3/4".  View   #V25875

VICTORIAN vulcanite Dickens brooch, 2-1/8" by 1-3/4".  View   #V29887

 

 VICTORIAN Whitby jet large intricate knot brooch, carved amazingly from one piece of jet, 2-1/4" by 2". Knot motifs in jet jewelry were most often carved in the 1840s.

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections. It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.  Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.  View   #V36497

VICTORIAN jet cross hatch carved ring circa 1870, a larger ring at size 9, possibly a man's ring, and 1/4" wide. Jet is brittle and very difficult to carve so a ring like this would have been very challenging to make.  View   #V37674

 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet knot brooch with pierced design reminiscent of a stylized buckle, amazingly carved from only one piece of jet, 2-1/2". Knot motifs in jet jewelry were often carved in the 1840s. 

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections.It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.  Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.  View #V36459 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet mourning locket brooch with entwined "IMO" In Memory Of brooch. The locket back has two colors of hair curled under glass and held with tiny seed pearls, one gray curl and one brown, 1-5/8" by 1-13".

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections. It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet.  Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.   View   #V36496 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet faceted cross brooch 1-3/4" and 5/8" thick.  
This shape is called a "cross pattee" or "formée" and as you can see, it has flat-ended arms narrowing towards the centre.

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections. It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet. Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject. View   #V36451

VICTORIAN Whitby jet Roman soldier cameo, a nice Classic design. There is a shallow dimple in the jet on the back the size of a ball point pen tip, original to the piece, 1-3/4" by 1-5/8". 

This very special piece is from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections. It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet. Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject. View  #V36472 

 

VICTORIAN carte de visite of a lady wearing a jet brooch and earrings and a vulcanite locket on chain, 2-1/2" by 4". "E. Le Jeune Photographe, Naples".  View   View   #Vkph22

VICTORIAN carte de visite of a lady wearing a bog oak brooch, a double strand of jet beads from which a cross is suspended and earrings, 2-1/2" by 4". "W. Turner, 40 Albion Street, Leeds". This photo was used in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 51, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.   View   View   #Vkph18

VICTORIAN carte de visite of a lady wearing a vulcanite locket on a black ribbon, 2-1/2" by 4". "Henry Knight, Artist & photographer, Regina House, Grand Parade, St. Leonards on Sea".  View   View   #Vkph19

 


  There are several materials used to make mourning jewelry, and they can be very difficult to distinguish between: jet, bog oak, horn and vulcanite. Jet was hand carved, while the other materials were pressed or molded.

IDENTIFICATION: Jet brooches will have an applied pin back like these:
PIN BACK and this PIN BACK.  An inset back like this would indicate that the piece is vulcanite or another black material, not jet:  PIN BACK
Jet chains have links with two duplicate pieces which are pegged and then glued together. Vulcanite links are all one piece with a slit in one end to insert the next link. This can be done because vulcanite is malleable, unlike jet which is brittle.
Jet lockets are smooth inside while vulcanite lockets are textured with a design inside:  Vulcanite locket

Signed pieces are very hard to find, and when found they are usually extremely well-carved. The jet workers only signed their very best pieces and these pieces were sometimes carved for a competition.

For information on identifying these materials, see the book "JET" by Helen Muller.
 

 

  VICTORIAN carved jet bar brooch with ammonite insert, 2". See similar brooch on page 50 of Helen Muller's book "Jet". This necklace was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 50, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.    View     #V28895
Whitby, England, is known for it's ammonites.
  VICTORIAN carved jet umbrella handle with grapes and leaves design, 6-1/2".   View   View   View   #V29117    VICTORIAN carved jet with cream and brown striped blue john brooch, 1-7/8".   View   #V29713  

 

  VICTORIAN jet and seed pearl hair brooch with plaited blonde and brown hair under glass, 1-3/4". Seed pearls in Victorian jewelry often represented tears.  View   #V29447 

VICTORIAN jet carved sea shell shaped brooch, 1-1/8".   View   View   #V29257    

VICTORIAN jet oval brooch with silver floral engraved applied plate, 1-5/8".   View   #V27254   

 

  

   VICTORIAN jet grapes brooch with twist surround, small chips on back, 2".   View   #V28198

     VICTORIAN  vulcanite hand brooch in the shape of the sign for "love", 2-1/3".  View   View   #V28774

   VICTORIAN vulcanite pierced twig frame design with floral center brooch, 1-5/8".  View   #V29301

 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet Queen Victoria brooch dated and hand carved carved 1887, this can be seen in Helen Muller's book "Jet Jewellery" page 128 and it came from her own personal collection, 1-7/8" by 1-18".  View   #V36504

VICTORIAN Whitby jet large lover's knot brooch with carved Greek key design, 2-1/2" by 1-3/4".   View   #V35102  

VICTORIAN hand carved jet brooch fashioned like a door knocker, 1-1/2" by 1-3/4".  View   #V62821

 

VICTORIAN jet brooch with applied gold flower bouquet, pierced and carved brooch, 2-1/8" by 1-5/8".  View   View   #V30056

   VICTORIAN jet acorn tie pin, a very unusual piece, 3-5/8".   View   View   #V29958 

VICTORIAN jet large lover's knot brooch, 2-1/8" by 1-1/2".   View   View   #V30055  

 

   VICTORIAN French jet arrow ornaments, set of two, 6-5/8". See these in "Jet" by Helen Muller on page 124.  View   View   View   #V31984

VICTORIAN cased ambrotype photo of lady wearing jet and cameo brooch and jet bracelet, 3-3/4" by 4-3/4".   View   View    View   View   #V31994

VICTORIAN French jet (black glass) in gold filled settings fern motif brooch and earrings, brooch 2" earrings total 1-1/4". This can be seen in the S.F. Myers & Co. Jewelry Catalogue, 1885.    View   #V32064

 

 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet table and chair doll house furniture with etched design of the Whitby Abbey on each piece, table 1-1/3" by 1-1/4", chair 2-1/4" by 1". This can be seen in Helen Muller's book "Jet" page 92. These aren't easy to find.

This very special pieces are from the personal jet collection of Katy and Helen
Muller, authors of the books on jet jewellery. I am so very privileged to
have it and other pieces from their private collections. It is guaranteed to be genuine and all original Victorian Whitby jet. Their books "Jet Jewellery &
Ornaments" and "Whitby Jet" are the best books written on the subject.   #V36460

 

 


  JET is the black fossilized wood of a particular tree that grew millions of years ago. It is particularly associated with the English town of Whitby where much of it was fashioned into jewelry and accessories. While jet was made into jewelry throughout the 1800's, it was especially fashionable between 1860 and 1890. Like amber, it will pick up paper when static is created by rubbing it on wool or silk.

VULCANITE (also sometimes called "ebonite") was made by combining and heating sap of the Euphorbia or Ficus trees from Malaysia with sulphur. Invented in 1843 by Thomas Hancock, pieces made of vulcanite were almost always molded, not carved, and it was used mainly in making jewelry.

HORN is the natural horn of an animal, pressed into a mold to form jewelry.

BOG OAK is fossilized wood or peat found in Ireland. It is a brownish-black, and has a woody texture.

FRENCH JET and CREPE STONE are black glass, and not truly jet at all. Like all glass, they will be colder to the touch and heavier than jet or vulcanite. They are usually smaller sized pieces backed with black metal in the same size.

BOIS DURCI was invented by Francois Charles Lepag in 1856. It is a composition of fine hardwood sawdust and blood which is pressed then highly polished.

GUTTA PERCHA is the sap of the Dichopsis tree also found in Malaysia. Invented by William Montgomerie in 1843, it was used mainly in technical articles, e.g. driving belts, stoppers, tubs, pails, cups, washing drums and cables. It was also used for household purposes such as mouthpieces for whistles, sticks and riding whips. It was very rarely used for jewelry.


Pieces like these, circa 1860-1890, can be seen in Helen Muller's book Jet and in Christie Romero's Warman's Jewelry, Ed. 3 on pages 51 and 52.

 

 

View BOIS DURCI  Bois Durci was developed in the 1850s from animal blood, a byproduct of Paris slaughterhouses. This material could be worked with heat and pressure and made into articles such as hair combs and items of jewelry. It was also used in Victorian times to copy jet jewellery.  It is black and made of wood shavings compressed with a type of plastic and dyed black, very convincingly like jet. #V29472  View

 

 

        VICTORIAN vulcanite high relief lady profile cameo pin gold metal surround, 2".   View   #V27235

      VICTORIAN vulcanite cameo with twisted surround, 2".  View   #V27208

    VICTORIAN jet carved cameo brooch, chip on back, 2-1/4".   View  #V28069

 

  VICTORIAN lady wearing an elaborate cameo mourning piece.   View

   VICTORIAN vulcanite cameo brooch with beaded edging, signed on the back "W.P.", 1-5/8".   View   View   View   #V28832

   VICTORIAN lady wearing a cameo vulcanite necklace.  View

 

 VICTORIAN jet cameo brooch with pendant loop on back, 1-7/8".   View   #V28195

   VICTORIAN lady wearing a jet cameo brooch, earrings and pendant. Carte de viste marked "L. Abell, Kendal Lane, Leeds".

   VICTORIAN vulcanite pendant hanging pin with lady cameo, 3-1/3".   View   #V27249

 

 

 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet brooch with a cameo of a lady, beautifully carved by hand circa 1870, 2". Jet was worn for mourning, but Queen Victorian made it so popular that was also worn for it's beauty alone.  View  #V32111

 

 

WHITBY JET JEWELRY
by KATY MULLER
author of the book "Whitby Jet"

Because my mother Helen was THE jet expert in England, I developed an interest in this wonderful jewelry early in my life. Her book  "Jet Jewellery and Ornaments” came out in 1984 then her larger book "Jet" in 1987.  In 2009  we collaborated on an updated version of Jet Jewellery and Ornaments book called “Whitby Jet”, with some new information and lots of new color pictures.  

Mum knew many of the jet workers in Whitby and her research included interviews with those who were then still living. She even had the opportunity to move a complete Victorian jet work shop and rebuild it where it can be seen today in the York Museum. Between the two of us, we have handled hundreds of pieces of this wonderful jewelry.

The best jet for jewelry was mined in the area around Whitby, England. Jet jewelry has been made for hundreds of years, but it was made most popular starting in the Victorian era after the death of Queen Victoria's beloved husband, Prince Albert in 1861 when the whole country went into mourning. It was not only a sign of mourning, but a fashion statement as well.

The best jet jewelry that is found today is well carved and polished and has all the original fittings.  A couple of small “flea bites” (conchoidal fractures) in jet is not unusual and it shows its authenticity because vulcanite and other simulants do not chip in this way. Unfortunately a lot of jet on offer these days that is made up of odd pieces and beads of jet which are re-made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. These aren't original or as they should be, and have little value. Buy from a reputable well-informed dealer who knows jet jewelry if you want the real thing.

In general, it is difficult to exactly date any jet piece, but certain motifs were popular in certain decades. The knot motif was most popular in the 1840s for instance, the green gypsy boy on porcelain in 1860s, lockets in the 1870s and larger brooches in the 1870s.  As time went on and fashion changed the smaller pieces were came into vogue.

Good Victorian Jet jewelry is getting harder and harder to find, so if you see something you like buy it while you can!  It will only increases in value. And enjoy wearing a famous piece of Victorian English history!

KATY MULLER

 

 

.
 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet anchor, unusually large, 3-7/8" by 1-3/4". The anchor is beautifully carved and unusually large, but the way the pin back was attached is a bit messy. It does not affect the ability to wear it or show fro the front though.   View   View   View   #V32314

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved cameo brooch of a lady, 2", beautifully carved.    View   #V32111

VICTORIAN jet knot brooch and long chain. Charles A. Gandy, 5 Bishopsgate St. Without, Opposite the Church, E.C.".  View   View   #Vphot20

 

VICTORIAN vulcanite deeply carved fleur-de-lis pin and scrolls, 2" .  View   #V27255

   SWISS or Tyrolean peasant carved black wood jewelry box with swing-out velvet-lined drawers, circa 1845, 4" high and 8" long. This is the perfect jewelry box for jet jewelry!   View   View   View   #a29196         

VICTORIAN vulcanite fan pin, 2".  View   #V25283

 

  VICTORIAN lady wearing a vulcanite neck chain.   View

VICTORIAN lady wearing a vulcanite neck chain and locket   View

VICTORIAN lady wearing faceted jet beads.

 

     VICTORIAN oval vulcanite flowers (roses, fuchsia, etc) brooch, 2".   View   #V26087

     VICTORIAN vulcanite knot carved oval brooch, 1-7/8".  View   #V27252

 VICTORIAN vulcanite brooch with two deeply carved flowers, 2" wide and 3/4" deep.   View   #V28892

 

 
 VICTORIAN vulcanite flower bouquet brooch, British registry mark on back for 1880, 2-1/8".   View   View   #V29158  VICTORIAN jet pin with silvery painted birds and nest, 1-3/4".    View   #V27647   VICTORIAN jet small domed pierced oval brooch, 1-1/3".   View   #V29467

 

 VICTORIAN vulcanite highly decorated floral etched fluted frame brooch, 2-1/2". See similar pieces on page 90 of Helen Muller's book "Jet".  View   #V27663

   VICTORIAN jet faceted surround brooch, 1-1/2" by 1/2" deep.   View   View   #V29463

  VICTORIAN vulcanite oval flower brooch with fruit and scrolls frame, 2".   View   #V27646 

 

VICTORIAN jet entwined design brooch.  View   View   #V29474    VICTORIAN jet faceted, carved and pierced with entwined initials "IMO (In Memory Of)" brooch, 1-5/8".   View   #V29223 VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, lily-of-the-valley design, 2".    View   #V25360  

 

      VICTORIAN vulcanite 50th Jubilee "Dei Gratia, Victoria Regina, 1837-1887" brooch, 1-3/4".   View   #V29230

  VICTORIAN vulcanite fruit brooch with pear, apple and berries, 2".   View   #V27648 

VICTORIAN vulcanite mourning brooch with 4 leaves motif, 2".   View   #V26614     

 

 

 

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet set matching brooch and earrings with intricate carved flower design, brooch 1-1/2" earring itself 5/8" wide.  View   View   #V35103

   

 

   VICTORIAN vulcanite oval brooch with oak leaf, acorn and wheat motif, 2-1/3". See "Warman's Jewelry, Ed. 3" page 51, and also Luthi's Sentimental Jewelry page 20.   View   #V27202

   VICTORIAN vulcanite wheat sheaf brooch, 1-5/8".   View   #V27379 

 VICTORIAN vulcanite bird pin, 1-7/8".  I suspect this is a robin, symbol of death and resurrection, along with the symbol of infinity behind it.  View #V26086

 

VICTORIAN vulcanite brooch with a central flower and two leaves, 2".   View   #V29295 VICTORIAN vulcanite oval pierced brooch with floral (tulip?) design in the center, 1-3/4".   View   #V29299 VICTORIAN vulcanite pierced bar with flower and leaf design center brooch, 2".   View   #V29300

 

   VICTORIAN jet carved 1-5/8" brooch with matching 5/8" screw back earrings.   View   View   View   View   #V27801   VICTORIAN jet earrings with dental edge and round bead center, 5/8".   View   #V28787      VICTORIAN jet brooch with dental edge and oval smooth center, 1-1/3".  View   #V28785

 

VICTORIAN jet "grandma" bar pin, 1-3/4".  View   #V28070

      VICTORIAN jet name "Jane" brooch, 1-7/8". See name pins on page 50 of Helen Muller's book "Jet".   View   #V27904

  VICTORIAN jet carved name pin, "Ellen".   #V26062

 

VICTORIAN jet long oval souvenir brooch engraved "Beverly Camp, 1889", 1-5/8". See similar pieces on page 70 of Helen Muller's book "Jet".  View   #V29225     VICTORIAN French jet faceted and slightly curved bar pin, 2".   View   #V28867 VICTORIAN jet oval dental edge souvenir brooch with bird design, "4th D.V.A.", 1-5/8".   View   #V29226

 

   VICTORIAN jet domed center and carved edge oval brooch, 1-3/4".   View   #V29221    VICTORIAN vulcanite bow brooch, 2".  View   #V25888    VICTORIAN jet high domed etched with cross and Greek key designs, 2-1/8" by 3/4" deep.   View   View   #V29220

 

VICTORIAN Whitby jet faceted teardrops brooch, circa 1870, 1-1/2" .   View   #V33045

VICTORIAN bar pin, black onyx with gold ivy leaves and seed pearls, circa 1890, 1-1/2".  This can be seen in the S.F. Myers & Co. Jewelry Catalogue, 1889.    View   #V32448

VICTORIAN black bow brooch with mother-of-pearl insets circa 1880, 2".   View   View   #V33123

 

  VICTORIAN rare jet faceted ring, size 5-1/2.   #V29136

VICTORIAN jet oval faceted and carved brooch, 1-3/4".   View   #V28874

VICTORIAN jet horseshoe charm, 1".     #V28873

 

   VICTORIAN jet love, faith and hope charms, 1".  See page 90 of Helen Muller's book "Jet".  #V25189    VICTORIAN vulcanite anchor pin, 1-5/8". The anchor motif symbolizes "Hope".  View   #V25887      VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, open lily 2".   View   #V25361

 

    VICTORIAN jet oval brooch, 1-5/8.   View   #V29137

VICTORIAN vulcanite Maltese shaped cross with flowers and design, 1-1/2".  View   #V25885 

  VICTORIAN vulcanite eye-shaped brooch with intricate tiny leaves and balls design, 2".     View   #V29297

 

     VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, lily-of-the-valley, 2-1/8".  View   #V25365

 VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, floral center, 2-1/4". View #V25359

   VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, diamond and swirl motif, 2-1/4".   View   #V25364

 

  VICTORIAN vulcanite bar pin1-5/8".  View  #V25347

  VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, center round with lily-of-the-valley, 1-3/4".   View   #V25362

  VICTORIAN jet rose carved bar pin, 2".   View    #V25349

 

VICTORIAN jet floral carved bar pin, 1-5/8".  View   #V25348

VICTORIAN "Real Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, faceted with diamond shapes, 2"  #V25340  

  VICTORIAN jet hand carved brooch, open stylized flower center, 2".  View   #V25363

 

VICTORIAN vulcanite banjo brooch, circa 1870, 1-3/4".  View   #V29142

    VICTORIAN vulcanite lion face chatelaine holder, 3".  View   #V25409

 VICTORIAN vulcanite banjo pin, 2".  View   #V25286

 

     VICTORIAN vulcanite rose flower bar pin, 1-7/8".  View   #V28061

VICTORIAN vulcanite flowers bar brooch with ribbed edge decor, 1-3/4".   View   #V29143

   VICTORIAN jet brooch, well carved elongated oval, 2-1/4"/   View   #V28550

 

   VICTORIAN "Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, knotted motif, 1-3/4".   #V25345

   VICTORIAN "Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, rose and lily-of-the-valley, 2-1/4".  #V25339

     VICTORIAN "Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, bar pin with starburst center, 2-1/8". See page 70 of Helen Muller's book "Jet".  #V25341

 

     VICTORIAN "Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, rose and leaves, 1-7/8".  #V25343

   VICTORIAN "Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, fleur-de-lis ends and twist center, 2".   #V25342 

     VICTORIAN "Whitby Jet" hand carved brooch on original card, bar pin with starburst center and fluted ends, 2". See page 70 of Helen Muller's book "Jet".  #V25344

 

   VICTORIAN vulcanite rectangular with dental edging carnations brooch, 2".   View   #V27378

  VICTORIAN vulcanite horseshoe and criss cross brooch, 2".   View   #V26679    

   VICTORIAN vulcanite horse shoe and flowers pin, 1-3/4".   View   #V26448  

 

     VICTORIAN vulcanite horseshoe clover brooch for good luck, 1-7/8".   View   #V28869 VICTORIAN vulcanite bar brooch with lucky horseshoe, 1-3/4".   View   #V29231    VICTORIAN jet hand carved horseshoe and faceted studs brooch, 1-7/8".   View   #V26678 

 

VICTORIAN jet pin gold and pearl, 1-1/4".    View   #V27240

  VICTORIAN onyx bar pin with seed pearls and gold metal design, 1-3/4".  View   #V28201

VICTORIAN vulcanite lock fastener, 1-1/4".  #V25879  

 

  VICTORIAN French jet (black glass) faceted small pin, 1-5/8", see Muller Jet, page 124.   View   #V29216 VICTORIAN French jet (black glass) pins, 1-1/4", see Muller Jet, page 124.  View   #V29212  VICTORIAN carved floral bar pin.  View   #V5301 

 

   VICTORIAN vulcanite buckle with cherries, morning glories and floral motif, 2-1/4" by 2-1/3".   View    View    View   #V27901

     VICTORIAN vulcanite hair comb, circa 1870, 4-3/4" by 3-1/4". (See Romero's "Warman's Jewelry, Ed. 3" page 52.   View   #V27838

    VICTORIAN vulcanite buckle with violets and roses motif, 1-3/4" by 2".   View   View   #V27900

 

  

 VICTORIAN vulcanite and paste circle pin, 1-1/3".   View   #V28067  

 VICTORIAN jet buckle with paste stones, 2-1/8" by 1-1/2".  View   #V28870 

      VICTORIAN Jet round brooch with clear glass center stone, circa 1920, 1-1/3".    View   #V27253

 

VICTORIAN jet brooch on original card. This was seen in "Antiques & Collecting Magazine" page 50, October 2008 in an article about Victorian jet jewellery called Black Magic by Anna Marie Roos, Ph. D.   #V28803

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved hand brooch.   View   #VHM6

VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved stick pin circa 1880, 3" long by 3/4" top. An amazing amount of detailed carving for such a small piece.   View   #V33295

 

  
VICTORIAN French jet (black glass) insect pin with flowers and leaves, 1-7/8". French jet is black glass used in the late Victorian era to emulate Whitby jet. It is usually more shiny and the pieces much more delicate than jet.   View   #V35883 VICTORIAN French jet starburst brooch, 1-5/8". French jet is black glass used in the late Victorian era to emulate Whitby jet. It is usually more shiny and the pieces much more delicate than jet.  View   #V35680 VICTORIAN French jet butterfly, 1-1/2". Vauxhall glass is a colored glass with a mirrored back. French jet is black glass used in the late Victorian era to emulate Whitby jet. It is usually more shiny and the pieces much more delicate than jet.   View   #V35679

 

 

TO TELL JET FROM FRENCH JET:
  French jet is glass, so colder than jet. Touch it to you lip which is most sensitive to temperature. Also, the pieces on French jet are almost always small and faceted like the one above...
 
...and mounted on a flat metal back   Real jet will leave a black charcoal-like mark when rubbed gently on an emery board. And brooches will have a pin mounted like the one above with no screws used. Screws are used in vulcanite.

 

 

 

 

VICTORIAN French jet (black glass) or Vauxhall glass faceted bug pin with great detail, 1". This can be seen in Benjamin's "Antique Jewellery" on page 71.   View   #V33032

 

 

VICTORIAN jet pad lock closure, grooved front and back, 1-1/4" by 1-5/8" .  View   #V32575

VICTORIAN jet pad lock closure, made up of a vintage catch and a jet bracelet component, 1-1/2" by 7/8".   View   #V32576

  VICTORIAN jet decorative pad lock made up of a vintage catch and jet bracelet component, 1-1/3" by 1-1/3".   View   #V32577

 

WHITBY jet in it's raw form, front and back of one piece.

Whitby jet slab. These come in all sizes, large and small. Having held one in my hand and tried to work it myself, I have a whole new admiration for the jet workers who made such lovely jewelry of this material.

   Whitby raw jet before it is worked.

 

For more information about JET and other Victorian black jewelry we recommend the excellent book 'Jet' by Helen Muller.

Order a brand new black and white re-print of the original publication of  "JET" by Helen Muller with front cover in color. The first and only large book about jet jewelry and ornaments  ever published, it covers its history, geology and the materials used to simulate it (vulcanite, bog oak, pressed horn, etc.). There are 149 pages with wonderful black and white illustrations.
 

"Jet" by Helen Muller

Helen Muller

 
 

  Some Victorian jet jewelry you may be interested in or Click here to view all Victorian jet jewelry Jewelry for sale  
VICTORIAN jet brooch, well carved elongated oval
VICTORIAN jet brooch, well carved elongated oval
$158.00
VICTORIAN jet, hand painted Tyrolean boy
VICTORIAN jet, hand painted Tyrolean boy
$225.00
VICTORIAN jet pendant, painted porcelain boy
VICTORIAN jet pendant, painted porcelain boy
$235.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet beads pendant with Tyrolean boy
VICTORIAN Whitby jet beads pendant with Tyrolean boy
$595.00
VICTORIAN jet bracelet of faceted links
VICTORIAN jet bracelet of faceted links
$158.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved cameo brooch & earrings boxed
VICTORIAN Whitby jet hand carved cameo brooch & earrings boxed
$1,450.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet brooch with cameo c 1870
VICTORIAN Whitby jet brooch with cameo c 1870
$395.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet cameo bracelet
VICTORIAN Whitby jet cameo bracelet
$495.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings with faceted oval, 1870
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings with faceted oval, 1870
$495.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings, hand carved diamond shapes
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings, hand carved diamond shapes
$625.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings, hand carved teardrops
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings, hand carved teardrops
$585.00
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings, hand carved balls
VICTORIAN Whitby jet earrings, hand carved balls
$595.00
Click here to view all Victorian jet jewelry Jewelry for sale
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