A wonderful Victorian era necklace made of authentic rich black Whitby jet stones that have been carved into multi faceted beads of varying sizes. This necklace measures approximately 34 inches around and has been hand-knotted to arrange the jet beads into descending order. The largest bead worn at the center and hanging low measures approximately 12 mm. The smallest of the jet beads measures 9 mm. The bead at the very back has been created to hold the clasp and is where the necklace comes together. This clasp is quite beautiful but due to its age has a slight crack. This does not deter from the beauty of the piece and it functions perfectly, closing and opening very securely. The jet black beads are multi-faceted and catch light to reflect the many textures of this natural stone. The necklace is so long it can be worn twice around or just once. It has a great feel to it, and is quite light to the touch, this being from the natural fossilized jet.
Whitby jet is a semi-precious stone that when polished has an intense waxy look of opaque black. It is rare to find true whitby jet as it is from a fossilized monkey-puzzle tree that was originally found off the cliffs near the historic fishing town of Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. The tree was once quite abundant and in the beginning of the Bronze Age it was the material that was used to make beads. Later, the Romans mined in this area and Queen Victoria made most of her mourning jewelry from this black natural stone. It was such a special and almost magical stone with highly reflective qualities that when nicely polished jet was even used for mirrors.
The material of jet is rare and highly sought after to this day. The Victorian necklace is made with great sentiment and is a lovely piece of mourning jewelry. A nice piece of history, a rare luxury, this necklace is a wonderful item for any collection. Circa 1860.