Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My private jet

Now made public.

I found this lump of jet last week, and the seller thought it was obsidian, or volcanic glass.

I picked it up and realised it was too soft and light for glass, then I realised what it was. I don't understand why they call jet 'fossilised coal', because I thought coal was in itself a fossil. Maybe 'metamorphosed coal' would be a better description? This is quite a big lump at one pound three ounces.

I don't know much about it, but I do know that there was a large, Victorian industry in mourning jewellery - probably started by Queen Vic herself - and it centred on the fishing town of Whitby, where it could be found on the shoreline, in amongst the stones and pebbles.

I suppose it is possible that Bram Stoker had Dracula land at Whitby because of this association with death as well. We associate the colour black with death and darkness, and you cannot get much blacker than jet.

There was such a market for jewellery made from Whitby jet, that substitutes were made in black glass which - ironically - is much harder to work than real jet. Maybe they started running out, or cornering the market?

I think this lump is the remains of the Victorian jewellery business, because it has been split up, and there is a flat section where a piece has been cut off. It also shows signs of having been sat on a shelf for many years too.

I don't know what it is actually worth, but I am about to find out, as I put it on eBay for sale recently. At the moment, it has reached 99p...

I suppose that - like diamonds - it burns quite nicely. I begin to imagine an inhabited planet with a similar climate to Britain, which has diamonds in such abundance that they are shovelled up and used for fuel in homestead fire-places.

I wonder if this planet has eBay as well?

30 comments:

  1. Hello Tom,

    Jet jewellery can be so delightful. The intensity of the black is both decadent and dramatic in our eyes, provided one avoids the more funereal designs that is.

    And Whitby is charming. Out of season that is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never been to Whitby, but I am told it is much more pleasant in the Summer now that the fish-gutting factories have been closed down. They say you could smell it from about 50 miles away, downwind. Another good reason to have Dracula land there.

      Delete
  2. There are lots of small shops in the old part of Whitby selling Whitby jet jewellery, people say it is coming back into fashion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I might open a coffin pitch in the Garden Centre as well.

      Delete
  3. A better quality coal. I've never understood why people find Jet morbid; other black stones seem to be much loved.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is linked to the healing chakras if you in that nonsense. You are supposed to clean it after a "purification session" as it can absorb negative energy. I believe it has purification and protective qualities. Maybe you should forget the 99p and keep it in your pocket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I should, but I'm pretty sure I won't.

      Delete
  5. My dad was a rockhound, and I remember the stuff as a minor gemstone, easily worked. Dad was big on cabochons; there were little bits left in the stuff he worked on. Shame we four weren't much interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought your Dad was pretty big in the Spanish version of the nuts department for a minute.

      Delete
  6. With all your skills couldn't you make some jewellery from it? Can I order some earrings and a pendant please!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ebay is everywhere …. just like Tesco's ….. they are taking over the world …. and the planets.
    I love black clothes, black cars and black ….. jewellery !!?!!!!
    You really should get more than 99p for your piece of Jet XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 131222033930

      That's the number. If you want it, bid on it!

      Delete
  8. Am I the only person in the world who has never been on EBay - either to sell or to bid?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went to Ebay recently, Weaver, and ended-up with a nasty virus. I shall not return.

      Delete
  9. Good old Morbid Queen Vic..Am reading the Three Emperors at the mo- she had a lot to answer for....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She had a lot to be praised for too - not as tight-arsed as some would have you believe.

      Delete
  10. The trend for bidding in the last few seconds on ebay seems to have waned a little thank goodness. My heart couldn't take it.

    I have a lovely jet brooch that an old friend gave me before she died some years ago. Fantastic artist - she went to art school in Leicester in her late 70's and produced beautiful print work when virtually blind. Anyway.......I'd buy your jet for more than 99p............I'm off to have a look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the only way to bid. Good luck - I would love to pass it on to a friend.

      Delete
  11. The trend for bidding in the last few seconds on ebay seems to have waned a little thank goodness. My heart couldn't take it.

    I have a lovely jet brooch that an old friend gave me before she died some years ago. Fantastic artist - she went to art school in Leicester in her late 70's and produced beautiful print work when virtually blind. Anyway.......I'd buy your jet for more than 99p............I'm off to have a look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the only way to bid. Good luck - I would love to pass it on to a friend.

      Delete
  12. The things I learn on your blog...I had black Hollyhocks bloom in my garden today and thought I was pretty cool but then you come up with this treasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Black Hollyhocks sound pretty cool to me.

      Delete
  13. Just back from a lovely, lovely party in Hildesheim - no way to wear jet. But a nice lump you found - before selling it for 99p I would use it as a paperweight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to let Em use it as a paperweight.

      Delete
    2. Update: No I'm not. Someone wanted it more than she did.

      Delete