|Description: Two identical jet earrings with oval shaped loops, one within the other. The outer loop is slightly carved. Both loops taper towards a leaf shaped decoration joined to the top of the outer loop. There is a metal wire hook attached to the leaf. Both loops are decorated with delicate gold and grey painted leaves and flowers.|
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. 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. See: Ginny Redington Dawes and Corinne Davivov "Victorian Jewellery: Unexplored Treasures" (Abbeville Press Publishers, New York, 1991), 55-95.