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What is Whitby Jet Made Of?

Jewellery & Watch News

Whitby Jet is much older than it looks! With its beautiful mirror-like shine and deep intense hue you would never have guessed that it is millions and millions of years old with a fascinating tale to tell. Admired by many for its unique qualities, Whitby Jet jewellery is very popular with many visiting the town to see the rare gemstone for themselves. Let's delve a little deeper to find out exactly how Jet is made. 


Let’s Get Technical 


We have nature to thank for bringing us such an impressive, rare gemstone. The fragments of Whitby Jet washed up on our stunning local beaches started their life as the Araucaria tree, which today goes by the name of the Monkey Puzzle or Chilean Pine. Whitby Jet is made up of fossilised wood. It is the result of disastrous natural events where many Araucaria trees ended up falling into the sea during the Jurassic era. Naturally, the trees became saturated with water getting stuck in sedimentary mud on the seabed, which created an anaerobic seal stopping normal decomposition. Every piece of wood absorbed the hydrocarbon oils, which contributed to chemical changes in the plants cells and also prevented silicification - where organic matter is replaced with silica. Over many years, layers and layers of sediment mud buried the wood from the ancient trees causing extreme pressure and a lack of oxygen, which is known as the fossilisation process and is the unique origins of Whitby Jet.



Where Is Whitby Jet Found?


It is along the North Yorkshire coastline that the finest Whitby Jet is discovered. If you’re very lucky you may find some on our local beaches especially after a violent storm and a strong tide. It’s down to natural erosion of the cliff face that leads to pieces of Jet falling into the sea. As our beloved gemstone only just sinks in salt water it follows the ebb and flow of the ocean becoming left on the sandy shore as the tide goes out. We’ve written a blog post about the dos and don’ts of beachcombing for those keen Jet hunters. 




Contemporary Whitby Jet Jewellery 


Whitby Jet may be mature at over 180 million years old yet once our experts have hand carved the gemstone into a beautiful pair of earrings or a striking necklace it takes on a more youthful appearance. We aim to create contemporary, high quality designs that showcase our craftsmanship and Jet’s intense black colour. Each stone is precision cut and polished to perfection for an impressive finish.


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