Sarah Steele is a geologist and professional gemmologist. She is currently working on her Ph.D thesis which will for the first time give us a better understanding of the material known as Whitby Jet. She is also a freelance writer and regularly has articles published in Gems and Gemmology, Gemmology Today and other publications
Our current research collaborations include a project based at The Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at the University of Yale, were we are working on a jet specific gem fingerprinting technique to establish appellation of origin for jet materials.
Sarah also has an ongoing collaborations with the National Museums of Scotland, York Archaeological trust, The Jorvik Viking Centre and is often asked to appraise the national collections of jet both home and abroad.
In order to understand jet and its many unrelated simulants Sarah is spear-heading a new branch of gemmology which she terms “Hydrocarbon Gemmology”.
In the past 12 months Sarah has spoken on the subject at the Tucson Gem Show, Arizona, The Geologist Association student symposium, London, The Peabody Museum, University of Yale, The Canadian Gemmological Association conference, Vancouver, and has delivered research posters on her new branch of gemmology at the World Gem Symposium in Carlsbad, California.
Sarah is available to speak regarding her ongoing research, the cultural importance and 26,000-year history of jet from both a British and worldwide perspective. The presentations can be tailored for most audiences from school children to professional gemmologists, geologists and archaeologists.