Happy Yorkshire Day everybody!
For those of you that don't know, Yorkshire Day is celebrated annually on 1 August to promote and celebrate the historic English County of Yorkshire. And in joining in these celebrations myself, I thought it might be nice for the sixth instalment of my Source Vintage Blog to be about the stunningly beautiful gemstone, Whitby Jet.
Now, unlike most gemstones, Whitby Jet is organic and is naturally formed from fossilised wood. The pressure of the water and sediment over millions of years compacts the wood and slowly transforms it into what we know as Whitby Jet stone today.
The Whitby Jet colour is unique. It has a deep blackness, so deep in fact that the expression ‘jet black’ comes from the colour of the stone. It is a smooth stone and lightweight, making it a nice choice to use in jewellery. Because it's so smooth, it takes on a high polish, and its light weight makes it comfortable to wear.
While Whitby Jet has been found in many countries worldwide, such as China, Siberia and the USA, the finest quality Jet has always come from the North-East coast of England in the county of North Yorkshire.
Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!
During Victorian times, Whitby became a popular seaside holiday destination and a souvenir piece of Whitby Jet was a must, particularly jewellery. As the century progressed, fashions changed and larger, more eye-catching pieces of jewellery were wanted. Whitby Jet was the perfect gemstone to use in large accessories, allowing even the largest of necklaces and earrings to be worn in comfort.
Photo By Detlef Thomas - de.wikipedia uploaded by Detlef thomas as de:Bild:Trauerschmuck_1.jpg (Eigenes Foto), CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=824191
In 1851, Whitby Jet was exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London. It soon became coveted by a number of high profile royals including the Queen of Bavaria and the Empress of France. However, Whitby Jet's most prolific patron was to be Queen Victoria.
When Prince Albert died in 1861, Queen Victoria took to wearing Whitby Jet jewellery in remembrance of him. It quickly became the etiquette to accessorise mourning dress with jewellery made from Whitby Jet. Queen Victoria valued the gemstone so that the only jewellery allowed to be worn in court during this period was Whitby Jet.
Photo courtesy of Royal Collection, V&A Museum via https://artofmourning.com/2015/07/06/mourning-fashion-jewels-during-victoria/
We love a bit of Whitby Jet and here are some of our favourite Whitby Jet finds, to date.
First up is this rare miniature antique victorian carved Whitby Jet Holy Bible. This one is currently for sale on our website with free UK & Worldwide shipping -
Next up is this sweet little miniature antique Victorian carved Whitby Jet working fob compass. This one didn't hang around for long. It sold within minutes of being on our website. This was so nice because it was in perfect condition with a working compass. Very sweet!
Then there's this stunning antique Victorian Silver, Whitby Jet and Mother of Pearl Locket Pendant Hallmarked London 1872. This was a lucky find. The silver was quite dirty when I bought it, so you couldn't see the hallmark. But I could tell from the style that it was Victorian, it was Silver and that it was Whitby Jet. I cleaned it up when I got it home and found the hallmarks. Very pleased with this fairly recent find. This is currently available to buy on our website with Free UK & Worldwide shipping -
Finally, this Antique Victorian Silver, Silver Gilt, Whitby Jet and Garnet Memento Mori Pendant was a cool find! Again, this one didn't hang around for a long. It cleaned up a treat and went on its way within a day or two of being on our website. Goodbye my spooky friend!
Well, that's it for this week's Blog. I hope I've made you fall in love with our county Yorkshire and Whitby Jet as much as I have! Do yourself a favour and pick up a piece of Whitby Jet, if you can... like the pieces on our website... *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink*
So, until next week my antique friends, good morning to you, and in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night!
Stay safe out there!
Owner Source Vintage
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