A beautiful piece of Victorian era mourning jewelry, these earrings are made of deep black, carved jet. They feature a design of a leaf tree-branch against a textured background. The oval shape of the earrings make them dangle. They have the original 14K gold wire mount with an attached Euro wire that has been replaced. At the top of the tear drop oval form are two loops that connect to the gold mount. The pieces are all beautifully attached, with hand made care. The earrings are carved out very nicely and are in great condition. They hang 2 inches and are approximately 1/2 an inch wide. They date to the 1860's.
These earrings are made of Whitby jet, which is an organic material, a lightweight gemstone found on the beaches of Whitby in England. The material of jet was highly sought after then, and still expensive to this day. Jet was very popular as a gemstone for jewelry during the reign of Queen Victoria. She wore jet as part of her mourning dress after the death of Prince Albert. Since then, jet has been associated with mourning and became very fashionable in Europe. Its somber color and modest appearance are very elegant. It has a beautiful sentiment. This design works well with a romantic evening dress or even a more casual contemporary look.
Jet s a type of lignite, is not a mineral but is rather a mineraloid. It is derived from wood that has changed under extreme pressure.