Faceted Chic - Whitby Jet Earrings
Ever the silver-tongued wordsmith, it was William Shakespeare who used the imagery of jet to denote a very deep dark black color…as in the phrases “coal-black as jet” and "black as jet". To this day we use that very reference that Will coined. No doubt in anyone’s mind, the beautiful soft texture, dense black color and intense waxy luster has made a fashion statement that is as classic.
Composed of highly polished and remarkably lightweight Whitby jet, three elements have been combined to produce a striking pair of earrings in that much sought-after perfect medium length.
The all-original black lacquered ear wires attach to a faceted open loop surmount. Joined inside the loop is another yet larger faceted open round of jet which suspends a tear-shaped drop accented with faceted jet inserts and a scalloped perimeter. In the center a jet cylinder penetrates one more faceted open hoop of jet. The reverse is smooth and flat with no obstructions.
Condition: Excellent; one minute loss at the edge of a scallop visible under magnification.
Measurements: 2-1/8 inches in length (5.3 cm) by 13/16 of an inch (2 cm) in width by ½ of an inch (1 cm) at the deepest. This pair of antique earrings has a weight of 5.6 grams.
Date & Origin: Circa 1870 – 1880; English in origin.
Historical notes: Jet has been worked into objects of adornment and protection for thousands of years. It was during the long course of mourning by Queen Victoria that jewelry incorporating black hit its peak of popularity.