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Whitby or French

August 25, 2020

Whitby or French

Whitby you all cry, What is Whitby you ask ? Well its a type of fossilised coal ,except its a lot older and more compressed than coal,making it harder and therefore easier to carve.

Prince Albert died in 1861, Victoria took to mourning with a passion, as did most of England,so black jewellery came into its own, Whitby jet made its play and many a fine jewel was created,ladies in those days tended to wear high collars very modest,so a collar chain with locket handy for keeping one nearest and dearest, dead or alive and of course with the recent invention of the camera too all slotted in very well.There were many very talented craftsman carving whitby jet and some truly intricate designs of flowes and animal etc were created.

Whitby jet has had many substitutes , vulcanite a type of early plastic, later on plastic itself, Bakelite even pressed horn , were Victorians soaked horn for weeks to make soft and pressed into heavy moulds to cast lockets etc.

In the 1890s French Jet was invented this being a type of glass , which meant to new fashion of 60 inch chains that could be worn 3 or 4 times around neck worked and of course unlike jet a unique hand crafted product, glass was relatively inexpensive and could be made in volume to supply the demand of the new young things of the new decade, and later on the flappers took this to a whole new level.

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