One of the new materials I worked with this past week, is jet.
How is Jet Formed?
Jet is not actually a mineral, but what is called a mineraloid as it is of organic origin. Jet is often described as a form of fossilized wood, but not in the sense of “petrified” wood, where the original cellular structure has been replaced by minerals and preserved. It is essentially a form of lignite coal – the product of buried wood from ancient forests millions of years ago, which has been modified as it has decomposed under high pressure and great heat.
Physical Properties of Jet
Jet is either black or dark brown, but may contain pyrite inclusions which are of brassy colour and metallic lustre. The adjective “jet-black“, meaning as dark a black as possible, derives from this material. Jet is found in two forms, hard and soft. Hard jet is the result of the carbon compression and salt water; soft jet is the result of the carbon compression and fresh water.
Jet in Jewellery
Jet has been used in jewellery since the Bronze Age in Britain, c. 2500 to c. 800 BC. It has gone in and out of fashion over the centuries – it was popular again during 3rd century AD in Roman Britain, and then had a massive resurgence during the Victorian era, the era we most associate jet jewellery with.
How to tell if your jet is real, and not Anthracite or Ebonite which are superficially similar and sometimes passed off as jet? When rubbed against unglazed porcelain, true jet will leave a chocolate-brown streak!
Featured Jet Necklace
The beaded jet necklace pictured here features top drilled jet oval beads, which are deep dark brown with a lovely metallic lustre. They have been combined with copper-plated faceted hematite round beads. The jet beads are super lightweight – you will hardly even know you are wearing this necklace it is so light. Also the lightness of the beads means they do not lie flat, but rather do their own thing creating a random silhouette each time the necklace is worn.
View this Jet Necklace in the Big Skies Jewellery Etsy shop here.
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