Jet jewellery identification can be difficult without in-depth knowledge. Sarah Steele FGA,DGA is an expert at the identification of Whitby jet and it’s many simulants. She regularly teaches workshops on black stone identification at gemmological conferences around the world and is able to offer a full Jet jewellery identification service. There are perhaps 20-30 different materials, both natural and synthetic, which, at one stage or another over the years, have been described as Whitby jet. Many of the simulants produced were excellent imitations of Whitby jet. If you have an item of jewellery and are wondering whether it could be jet then we are able to help you. Good Victorian Whitby jet items can be incredibly valuable. It’s always worth getting an expert opinion. Please take advantage of our Jet jewellery identification service.
In the height of the Victorian Jet boom demand for rough Whitby Jet was beginning to outstrip supply and other options were needed. The main attraction of Whitby Jet as a gem material was of course its deep black colour and liquid like lustre but more importantly its low SG 1.2-1.3. It was fine to look weighed down by the convictions of your expression of mourning, but in reality, it helped if the 7 strings of beads that you were wearing to denote you were the seventh daughter of a deceased father didn’t weigh more than a few ounces. To be a convincing simulant of Whitby Jet therefore, the imitation material would need to be light in weight. Whitby jet is also a poor thermal conductor and therefore always feels warm as heat is not quickly transferred away from the surface. Today of course we often describe jet as feeling plasticky, however in mid C19th plastic was yet to be discovered. The simulant therefore needed to be light in weight, black in colour and a poor conductor of heat.