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How often do you get the opportunity to own a piece of jewelry that is both a beautiful antique and also a prehistoric relic? While this necklace itself is about 160 years old, its components are approximately 182 million years in the making!
A precursor to coal, jet is a carbon and sulfur mineraloid derived from pressurized jurassic wood, most often from the Monkey Puzzle or Araucaria tree.
While jet can be found in a number of places around the world, the "gold standard" in jet can only be found in one place: Whitby, England (which also is where parts of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, "Dracula," take place).
Found in the debris from fallen cliffs, Whitby jet has been mined and utilized since the Bronze Age. However, it truly came into its heyday in the mid-1800s when jewelers and artisans began crafting this organic gemstone into mourning jewelry.
Following the death of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria entered a deep mourning period, which lasted the rest of her life. As a prolific patron of the seaside town, it comes as no surprise that the bereaved queen would choose Whitby jet as her jewelry of choice.
Unfortunately, the popularity of Whitby jet jewelry died with Queen Victoria. Though we still find it just as fashionable today as it was over a century ago!
This spectacular collar necklace is a testament to the skill and artistry of the era. While jet is relatively easy to carve, it requires a skilled lapidarist to create fine details without breaking it -- and this piece is jam packed with details!
Truly a great piece to add to the collection!
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