Our Whitby Jet research is challenging the perceptions of jet, a material with 5,500 years history of usuage in the British Isles. Sarah Steele graduated from Durham University with a degree in Geology. She has since qualified as a professional gemmologist (FGA, DGA). She returned to Durham University in Oct 2019 to complete her postgraduate Whitby Jet research, her project “Jet – Identification, utilisation, production and exchange” will for the first time give us a better understanding of the material known as Whitby Jet.What is Whitby Jet? Our other current research collaborations include a project based at The Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at the University of Yale, where we are working on a jet specific gem fingerprinting technique to establish appellation of origin for jet materials. Sarah also has ongoing research 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, The society of Jewellery Historians, London, The Geologist Association of America meeting, Phoenix Arizona and has delivered research posters on her new branch of gemmology at the World Gem Symposium in Carlsbad, California. We can tailor talks and events to suit every age and ability group.

“Every age is an age of wonders. There is always something which appears to be beyond the ken of mortal men.”

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