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Jet – a gem that’s not, well…a gem

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the expression “jet black” but did you know where it comes from? It’s based on a gem called Jet. Except that jet isn’t a gem but fossilized wood compressed over millions of years.

The finest quality Jet comes from England, near the north-east coast of Yorkshire. It’s smooth and lightweight as well as comfortable to wear.  And get this: it can be polished to such an extent that it can even be used as a mirror.

Queen Victoria loved her Jet jewelry and wore it as a remembrance of her beloved husband Albert who died in 1861. (She loved it so much that the only jewelry allowed to be worn in court during the period was Jet. That’s some serious Jet love.)

Here are some fine examples of this not-quite-a-gemstone: