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C1880 Whitby Jet Concentric circle EARRINGS w architectural ball tops

C1880 Whitby Jet Concentric circle EARRINGS w architectural ball tops

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Pre 1900: Item # 1426537
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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Wonderfully modern form geometric concentric circle earrings with three concentric circles inlaid within a larger circle. The earrings are mounted on shepherds hooks for uncomplicated administration and removal. Jet was a form of fossilized coal that was mined from the mines of Whitby, England. Whitby jet jewelry experienced it's heyday in the nineteenth century, as it was thought the contrast of the dark black of the jet was attractive against pale skin, considered a mark of beauty. It was additionally popular because jet could be worn as mourning jewelry, but by no means was it solely used as mourning jewelry. An entire industry revolved around jet jewelry; the skilled carver who carved the raw material into beautiful forms, and then there was the polisher who used his tools to polish the pieces to a smooth and silky finish. Following these techniques, there existed a whole cottage industry of women to assemble the jewelry on wires for earrings or bands for bracelets and necklaces. Whitby jet employed many people for the better part of the century in the small town of Whitby, England, and following about 1880, Victorian women lost interest in jet jewelry. The last factory closed in the early 1900s with the death of the final jet jewelry carver, and the skills and materials needed to make this uniquely Victorian form of jewelry were lost for the remainder of all time.