Victorian Whitby Jet brooches – made from coalBy
Whitby Jet comes from Whitby on the North East coast of England. It is a natural material which has been formed over millions of years from coal. This is the finest of the forms of jet and was greatly sought after. Whitby jet was carved and shaped into most forms of Victorian Jewelry and very often seen in brooches. Its very black colour suited the fashion for mourning Jewellery which was set by Queen Victoria following the death of her husband Prince Albert.
Whitby jet is: Light weight & can be highly polished or left matt. It has a subtle coal smell when you rub it hard and leaves a brown coloured trace if you rub it lightly on a rough surface ( please be very careful not to do this with precious antiques!)Another way of identifying real jet is to see how the brooch fastening has been attached. With real jet you will often see that it has been drilled or riveted into the reverse of the jet rather than stuck on to the back.
Care of Whitby Jet Brooch
Your Jet brooch should not need much cleaning, if it does just a simple wipe over with a soft dry cloth or if dust gets deep into carvings then this can be removed with a clean soft makeup brooch or similar.
The brooches you can seen in these pictures are both carved from Whitby Jet. The top brooch is set with mother of pearl. The lower one features a maiden with flowers in her hair.