Living in Whitby I often walk past antique and jet jewellery shops selling Victorian Whitby jet beads that have been restrung into Whitby jet bracelets simillar in style to the wat they would have once looked. Each of these bead has been skillfully handcarved by a craftsman over 100 years ago, having a small amount of expirience of working raw jet into jewellery myself I have huge admiration for this work. I wanted to give it a fresh look to show off the quality of the jet workers work all those years ago, I hope you feel I am doing thier work justice in my new creations that feature 1 or 2 of these antique handcarved beads, reworked with sterling silver, new round jet beads* are used (*this jet is not Whitby jet as new produced Whitby jet beads are not readily available, believe me i've search and searched, they are sourced from other countries with a natural occurance of jet) and in some instances semi-precious gemstones are used.
I am able to offer this range to gift retailers at wholesale prices, please contact me for more details.
I would love to advise that all you need do is come to Whitby to buy genuine Whitby jet but sadly this isn't that straight forward. Whitby jet is the best quality jet and it comands a much higher price than other foreign jets, as not many people know how to tell the difference, there are some people that think it's more important that they make money from you than you pay them for something that is what it is supposed to be which means that some goods sold as Whitby jet are in fact foreign jet. I know this happens in and arround Whitby as well as some internet sellers, but don't be put off from buying it, just read my tips below and you could bag yourself a beautiful piece of jewellery that will go on for another 100 years.
1. Sometimes it is described as just 'Jet', ask the seller because this could be innocent or it could be to avoid telling you it is foriegn jet.
2. If looking at a piece of Whitby jet jewellery with beads, to be genuine Whitby jet the beads will not be perfectly round in shape or will they have a perfectly uniform pattern carved into them.
3. If 'Whitby jet' beads are being sold as new not Victorian then they are most likely imported beads. Whilst we all want to buy perfect jewellery, in the case of Victorian Whitby jet jewellery nibbles and cracks can be a reassurance that the jet is genuinely old and almost certainly from Whitby.
4. Look at the shine on the surface, as Whitby jet is the best quality jet it polishes to the highest glossy shine. Though where only a small piece of jet is inserted into a p, so take all other factors into account.
5. If you are in Whitby looking to buy from a Whitby jet shop, probably the best advise I can give you is to go for the small shops that are not flashy with their shop displays / fittings or one where you can see the workshop in the back. These are where you will be able to obtain a genuine piece of Whitby jet.
6. Whilst Whitby jet is of the blackest black in appearance a rather suprising test (though destructive) is to get hold of some fine grain sandpaper and draw a line on it with your jet, good quality Whitby jet will draw a brown line on the sand paper, some less good quality Whitby jet/ foreign jet will make a slightly darker brown line. If the line is black, it's not jet. (I will eventually get round to adding some photos to show this)