Whitby Jet is a form of fossilised wood derived from the Araucaria, Monkey Puzzle Tree over 100 million years ago. A deep black gem with a high lustre once polished, jet was highly popular in the Victorian times for ecclesiastical and mourning jewellery. Jet inspired the phrase “jet black” owing to its superlative black colour.
The principal deposit of jet is from the mines in Whitby, North Yorkshire. The town of Whitby subsequently became the main area of the jet fashioning industry from the mid 19th century onwards. Jet is frequently carved, faceted and cut owing to its softness and ease of fashioning.