Jet is a geological material and is considered to be a minor gemstone. Jet is not considered a true mineral, but rather a mineraloid as it has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure.
The English noun "jet" derives from the French word for the same material: jaiet. Jet is either black or dark brown, but may contain pyrite inclusions, which are of brassy color and metallic lustre. The adjective jet-black is better known perhaps than the substance from which the descriptive phrase derives.
Jet is a product of high pressure decomposition of wood from millions of years ago, commonly the wood of trees of the family Araucariaceae. Jet is found in two forms, hard and soft. Hard jet is the result of the carbon compression and salt water; soft jet is the result of the carbon compression and fresh water.
Jet is easily polished and is used in manufacturing jewellery, according to the Whitby Museum, dating from 10,000 BC in parts of contemporary Germany. The oldest jet jewellery was found in Asturias, Spain, dating from 17,000 BC.
Jet as a gem material was highly popular during the reign of Queen Victoria, during which the Queen wore Whitby jet as part of her mourning dress. Jet was popular for mourning jewellery in the 19th century because of its sombre color and modest appearance, and it has been traditionally fashioned into rosaries for monks. In the United States, long necklaces of jet beads were very popular during the 1920s, or Roaring Twenties, when women and young flappers would wear multiple strands of jet beads stretching from the neckline to the waistline. In these necklaces, the jet was strung using heavy cotton thread; small knots were made on either side of each bead to keep the beads spaced evenly, much in the same way that fine pearl necklaces are made. Jet has also been known as black amber, as it may induce an electric charge like that of amber when rubbed.
- ↑ Wood can be considered a gemstone, but jet is the fossilized version.
- ↑ Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition) 1989, Oxford, Oxford University Press
- ↑ Cope, J. C. W. (2006) Jurassic: the returning seas - plate 26 and page 339 of Brenchley, P. J. and Rawson P. F. (editors) (2006) The Geology of England and Wales, 2nd edition, London, The Geological Society
- ↑ Jurassic timescale Retrieved 2010-06-23
|Fossilized||Amber · Ammolite · Copal · Jet|
|Contemporary||Coral · Pearl · Mother-of-pearl · Ivory|
|Related articles||Gemstone · Semi-Precious gemstone · Precious gemstone · Stub · Mineraloids|