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Jet Necklace
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Title: Necklace
Identifier: 979.6.1169
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1850-1900
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: Two strands of round jet beads and two flat triangular beads with a star shaped pendant at the bottom. The round and flat beads have a design carved onto the surface. The beads are strung on a black string. The star shaped pendant is made of small teardrop beads wired around a round bead. Hanging from the bottom of the pendant are three strings consisting of a small round bead and an oblong bead connected by a chain.

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 a small Yorkshire town, 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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