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Fabulous Victorian Whtby Jet necklace.

The chain alternates between two styles of link - a smooth plain link , and another carved with a central row of balls with a notched rim.

These graduate from smaller to larger at the centre, and back to smaller.


At the bottom hangs a large carved bombé shaped pendant - very dramatic and modern!

Someone has added a large blackened silver bolt so that the chain can be opened and does not have to go over the head.


Whitby Jet is a semi precious organic gemstone formed over millions of years from the fossilised remains of the modern day Monkey Puzzle, and similar trees. It is smooth and lightweight and can be polished to a deep black lustre that could be used as a mirror. The term 'jet black'  meaning as dark a black as possible derives from the black colour of Whitby Jet. Good quality hard Whitby Jet will not crack or fade over time unlike some inferior types of  jet available throughout the world. Most gems are formed from minerals, however a handful of gems such as Whitby Jet are organic and formed from animals or plant life. 


During the 1800’s and with new rail links to Whitby, the town became a popular seaside holiday destination for early Victorians. During their visit, a souvenir piece of Whitby Jet was a must, particularly Whitby Jet jewellery. As the century progressed, fashions were beginning to change, and clothing became heavier and more voluminous, in particular, crinolines of the times became fuller in design and required larger, more eye-catching jewellery to match. Whitby Jet’s lightweight characteristic made it the perfect gemstone to adorn large accessories, allowing even the largest of necklaces and earrings to be worn in comfort.

In 1851, Whitby Jet was exhibited for the first time at the Great Exhibition in London. Soon after, it became coveted by a number of high profile royals including the Queen of Bavaria and the Empress of France. However, Whitby Jet's most prolific patron was to be Queen Victoria. 

When Price Albert died in 1861, Queen Victoria took to wearing Whitby Jet jewellery in remembrance of him, quickly making it the etiquette to accessorise the period's mourning dress with jewellery made from the gemstone. Queen Victoria valued the gemstone so that the only jewellery allowed to be worn in court during this period was Whitby Jet.


Weight - 97.3g

Length - 24"

Bombe - 40mm x 30mm approx

Good Antique condition


English circa 1860 -70

Victorian Jet Necklace

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