We have been busy lately with the unusual Victorian jewelry from my own personal collection. Most of it came to me from my dear English friend, who also wrote the best books about jet jewelry. We were so lucky to get to stay with her and her lovely mother in England and we all travel together to Whitby, where so much jet jewelry was made. Here are some photos from our trip.
Several years later the owners of a newer museum of jet jewelry in Whitby came to town to see my jet jewelry collection, and they bought some wonderful pieces from me, including the ones shown in the newspaper photo here. They bought more from my English friend, too. But the jet I will to be adding to my web site now are pieces I was not ready to sell back then, so I had kept them.
During part of the Victorian period from about 1850 to 1890 black 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 could carry a special meaning as a memento of a loved one or a sentiment. 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 when not in mourning as well, and worn just for its beauty.
My dear friend Katy Muller, author of the book "Whitby Jet Jewellery", says "Should you wish to find a jewel which will protect you from the evil eye, from serpents and from dogs, go to Whitby, a small fishing village famous for its medieval abbey and Dracula, but most famous for its jet manufacture".
Jet is an organic gem like amber, pearls, coral and ivory. It is a type of brown coal, a fossilized wood of an ancient tree similar to our present day Araucaria or monkey puzzle tree. These trees flourished in the Jurassic period about 180 million years ago. When the trees died they fell into the river and were carried down to the sea. On their way they collected debris and small creatures and chemical changes altered the wood to jet. Jet is a poor conductor of heat and so feels warm to the touch. There are two types of jet, hard like Whitby jet and soft jet from other places. There is no doubt that in the minds of Yorkshiremen the best hard jet of all comes from around Whitby, found in the cliffs and on the beaches. This was the jet that was used for the jet jewellery industry. Mining began in about 1840 and stopped around 1920. Pieces of jet can still be found washed up on the beaches in Whitby today.
We BUY, collect and sell DeRosa jewelry!
Victorian jet jewelry FOR SALE is HERE.
ALL kinds of Victorian jewelry is FOR SALE click HERE.
To feast your eyes on the the Victorian jet jewelry we've had in the past, please look at our Jewel Chat Gallery pages.
Victorian jet necklaces HERE.
Victorian jet bracelets HERE.
Victorian jet brooches HERE.
And Victorian jet earrings HERE.
And be sure to stay tuned as we share more unusual Victorian jewelry for sale in the coming weeks!