Whitby Jet Bracelet with cameos...
This bracelet is a feast for the senses. A piece like this does not surface very often. The bracelet has three shell carved cameos, framed in luxurious Whitby Jet. It is a mesmerizing piece of Victorian mourning jewelry. Dates from the mid 1800's. Pictures do not BEGIN to do it justice.
It feels heavenly on the arm, so smooth and hugs the curves of the wrist like a dream. It must have been a treasured favorite. The center cameo is a Romanesque, beautiful woman with flowing hair, worn smooth on the high spots. One of the cameos looks like the balcony scène from "Romeo and Juliet". It absolutely has to be Shakespeare! The third depicts a young girl seated on a garden bench.
The center cameo measures 1 9/16" north to south and 1 5/16" east to west. The other two are 1 3/16" by 15/16". It is strung on strong, black elastic and will fit most wrists, unexpanded, it has an interior circumference of 6 ½". It is in excellent condition, one of the links on the back has a small chip on the inside edge, other than that, just some very minor surface wear. Remarkable!!
Jet has been used for jewelry and adornments since 1400BC. Whitby jet was mined in Whitby, England. The first mine was established around 1808. Whitby had the finest jet for making jewelry. It was hand carved and polished. A special mud from Derbyshire was used to polish the jet.
Whitby Jet was some of the most sought after and expensive jewelry of the Victorian Era and still is today. Just take a gander at one of the Whitby Jet websites from the UK. The prices of their antique jet jewelry will astound you if you've never seen it before. Less expensive substitutes were used to make jewelry that approximates the desired look, French jet, (glass or crystal) or vulcanite, which was invented during the civil war.
This bracelet is the real deal. Only the wealthy of the era could have owned such a piece. This bracelet is so very "Downton Abby". If you haven't seen it, watch it (PBS) for the costumes and jewelry alone!
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