These outstanding earrings are handmade with exquisitely carved glowing jet in deepest black. The earrings have an sculptural richness with carved leaves suspended over a circular jet base. These are large earrings, however the effect is light and graceful. The fittings are fine wires in gold which is unmarked, but tests to at least 9 carat. The wires clasp for security.
Jet is a semi-precious stone which was formed from fossilized wood some 175 million years ago, and has been used for thousands of years. The finest quality jet can only be found near the historic fishing town of Whitby in North Yorkshire. When jet is polished it takes on an intense waxy luster of the deepest opaque black. Jet has been associated with mourning in the Royal Court since 1830, but it was the deaths of the Duke of Wellington and Prince Albert in 1852 and 1861, which really stimulated wider public demand for jet mourning jewellery. The Whitby jet industry was at its height in 1873. Jet was also very expensive to buy, so it was often worn as a sign of wealth, social position and status as much as a public display of grief.
The earrings are in very fine antique condition, with no sign of any damage. Very rare considering their great age.
Dimensions are : the earrings are 1 1/2 inches long x 3/4 inch wide; length from the ear piercing is 2 inches; weight is 6.2 grams.
These are classic pieces of Victorian jewellery, are stunning to wear and are fine collectors pieces of wearable history
Antique Superb Victorian Whitby Jet Carved Mourning Gold Earrings ~ c1860s