Whitby jet and how to tell if it’s the real McCoy!

This is the daily blog of Alan Davidson who lives in Whitby North Yorkshire. My main hobby is search engine optimisation.  I live in Bradford and also Whitby. My Whitby Holiday Cottage http://www.endeavourcottage.co.uk/ My CCTV and Security Alarm installation companyhttp://www.adalarms.co.uk/ I am Sir Roger Moore's Web manager, his official site http://www.roger-moore.com/ and at Sir Roger's forum you can ask the man himself a question each month http://www.roger-moore.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi Read more from this author

Whitby jet originally was in the form of monkey puzzle trees about 180 million years ago during the Jurassic period. As the trees eventually died some of them were taken into the water of rivers and eventually ended up in the sea. The trees then would become engorged with water and sink to the bottom of the sea. Over a period of time they wouldl be covered by thick layers of sand and mud, which  compressed the trees under the sheer weight of the water above. This enormous pressure of the sea over the millions of years caused what was the monkey puzzle tree to become the material we now call jet.

Unique modern and also beautiful Victorian and fine quality jewellery at Whitby Jet

In Britain today the best place to find jet is the Yorkshire coast around the Whitby area and it can actually be found at low tide.

After the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert in 1861, Whitby jet was very fashionable. The Royal Court considered it appropriate to wear Whitby jet, in times of mourning.

Jet is a fabulous substance but there are a lot of other substances that look very similar. So I’ll give you some ways of making sure that if you’re thinking of buying some Jet you buy the genuine article, especially since Whitby jet has become quite expensive over recent years.

Whitby Jet at www.WhitbyJet.com

With the term “jet black” there is absolutely no doubt that jet is black in colour and if the material you’re looking at is not totally black, then it’s not jet. So that’s the first way of testing visually, just checking the colour in good light. If the  jet has been polished it has a very nice sheen to it..

Whitby Jet Blog

Secondly is to feel the jet itself, which should be light in weight, most people expect jet to be heavier than it actually is and also it should have a warm feel to it. There is a type of glass which has the term “French jet” but this is quite heavy when felt and has a glaring type of reflection.

You can even get modern types of plastic which can be mistaken for jet, but there are far too shiny usually, with moulding marks which tell the tale of their origin.

There is one test which is called red hot needle test, but obviously it’s usually very difficult to try and conduct this kind of testing, especially if you are stood in the shop looking at what is supposed to be Whitby jet. The idea is you heat up the tip of the metal and then touch it into the material which is supposed to be jet, if it is it will smell very similar to coal but will have a tarry smell to it also.

The best way to test if the material you are looking at is jet is the streak test. First of all you need a piece of analgise porcelain similar to the back of a ceramic tile, or a piece of sand paper and you scratch your material across it. If it is jet it should leave a dark brown mark, a piece of coal would leave a very dark black streak.

If your substance is black in colour, if touched with red-hot metal smells of burning coal and most convincingly leaves a brown mark when rubbed, there is quite a good chance that you’ve got the genuine article of Whitby jet.

A short film of what Whitby jet is and how to tell if it’s genuine Whitby jet

Endeavour Whitby holiday cottages

The Whitby holiday cottage letting agency with a selection of Cottages in Whitby

Whitby Cottages

Alan Davidson

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  3. Next time we are up your way collecting we will make sure we check out your cottage. It looks lovely!!
    Great site you have.
    The Monkey Puzzled team :)

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    I have a fare bit of jet stone found an much more to be found. Just wondered if u cud point me in the right direction for a buyer located near East Yorkshire??
    Many thanks. Jenna

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