Antique Whitby Jet Jewellery can be considered the crowning triumph of the Victorian age. We think of a 40-year period during the mid to late C19th as the heyday in Whitby Jet manufacture, and from a jewellery output perspective that is unequivocally true.
British Society is participating in a national obsession with mourning. With the death in 1830 of George IV, the Lord Chamberlains office dictates the dress code for the period, and states unequivocally that “the ornament shall be jet” and in 1830 the term “jet” meant only one material…..Whitby Jet. learn moreThe death of the Duke of Wellington in 1852 prompted the production of Whitby Jet jewellery into overdrive, the 50 recorded workshops in 1850 then swelled to 204 following the death of Prince Albert in 1861 as yet another wave of mourning sweeps the nation.Contemporary descriptions of the jet workshops describe men covered in a mixture of ginger-brown jet dust and the powdered red rouge they used to polish the jet. They are affectionately referred to as “The Red Devils”. During the period 1830-1890 there were believed to be 300 jet mines in the Whitby area, both along the coast and in land on the North York Moors. As the jet reserves were depleted simulants were needed.Learn more about Whitby Jet simulants. When you choose to buy and own a piece of antique Whitby Jet Jewellery you are not only rewarded with a piece of the finest victorian craftsmanship but you also become the custodian of a small but nonetheless incredible part of British history. Additionally of course, you are also following in the footsteps of one of the greatest British monarchs there has ever been!