Monday, May 19, 2014

Jet-black Jet

A post about the rock, jet, where we get the phrase "jet black" from.

and, lol, yes I now have a "lapidary arts" label on my blog.

 It's actually not a mineral, it's a coal, made of decaying wood. It actually burns with a blue light if you burn it. Not surprisingly, it is a very soft rock (about a 2.5-4 on a Mohs hardness scale...your fingernail can scratch a rock that's a 2, so this barely beats that.) 

Queen Victoria made it fashionable when she wore it as mourning jewelry. Jet was the higher-end mourning jewelry, though the Victorians also used dark woods and horn.

Since Jet is so soft, it can be easily carved:

It can also be faceted:

Whitby jet was said to be the darkest, shiniest jet.
this one is whitby jet and horn

Victorian jet jewelry is surprisingly inexpensive (Since it is so soft, some of it hasn't aged well). I took a look at a few vintage shopping sites and prices seem to run between 75-400. Beware of "French jet" which is actually glass. I've got my eye on a few pieces...waiting for my next paycheck!

Something you'd wear? I'm interested in it more for the stone and history. I typically don't wear the more fancy goth styles.


  1. I love jet - for some reason the trad goth style paired with lots of luxurious jet pieces is a pleasing idea. I love the history of the stone too.

    1. Fancy styles are fun...if you ve got somewhere fancy to go!

  2. This is a great post! I love Jet and Mourning jewelry....well I love Victorian Mourning in general (which sounds odd) I have a few pieces, but I don't wear them for fear I will break or lose the pieces. ;)

  3. Interesting stone, I am trying to figure out how really soft it is. I´ve been reading a lot about crystals lately, I really love Opal and Moonstone, and of course my favorite Amethyst :)

    1. People have said it feels like plastic and is lightweight. I really want an opal...maybe the next one...