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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Cross Pendent
Identifier: 2005.1.29
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: c. 1860
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A black jet cross pendent. It has a round eye screw attached at the top with a smaller eye screw attached to the larger one. Both hooks had been painted black but is now mostly brass metal colour.

History: Jet is a carbonized black coal-like substance formed by heat, pressure, and a chemical reaction on ancient driftwood. It has been used since the Bronze Age although its popularity skyrocketed in the 19th century when the small Yorkshire town of Whitby began mining jet and turned it into mourning jewellery. Whitby began the manufacture of jewellery in the 1830ís but really came into prominence after the Great Exhibition in 1851. Jetís popularity increased again after the death of Prince Albert in 1861 when Queen Victoria and her court went into deep mourning, wearing only jet jewellery for ornamentation. By the 1880ís the jet industry declined with the introduction of cheaper substitutes like bog oak and French jet. The jet market suffered another blow when Queen Victoria relaxed her mourning code in 1887 during the celebration of her Silver Jubilee.
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