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Title: Necklace
Identifier: 979.6.1191
Donor: Geoffrey H. Sayers
Item Date: 1830-1880
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A necklace made of jet beads. Small rounded beads alternate with three larger black beads with diamond shaped edges. 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 a small Yorkshire town, Whitby, began mining jet and turned it into mourning jewelry. Whitby began the manufacture of jewelry 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 jewelry 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. This item was donated by Geoffrey Harris Sayers, who was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (nee Harris). A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant 14 June 1938. Two years later, he was appointed Lieutenant. As of 21 April 1941, he was appointed the rank of Temporary Captain, and was recommended for appointment to the Lorne Scots (P. D. and H. Regiment) based out of Brampton. According to his military file, Captain Geoffrey Sayers served with the Canadian Armed Forces from 21 April 1941 until 11 October 1945, when he was honourably discharged. From 17 June 1941 until 13 March 1945, he also served with the British Forces (he had British citizenship). He received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp 1939-45. Geoffrey Sayers and his sisters, Dora Sayers Caro, and Barbara Sayers Larson donated Benares Historic House to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969. It has operated as a museum under the City of Mississauga since 1995 and was officially transferred to Mississauga in 2000. Geoffrey Sayers and his wife Kathleen (nee Colloten) occupied Benares from 1969 until 1981. During that time, they acted as care takers of the estate on behalf of the Ontario Heritage Foundation. They kept a small display of artifacts in the kitchen, and opened up the house once a year to the public. He also maintained the Benares financial affairs in 1932 for Naomi (Na) and Mary, who were unable to do so themselves.
Copyright: Museums of Mississauga
Rights & Permissions: Museums of Mississauga
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