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Identifying Fake Whitby Jet

Jewellery & Watch News



Don’t let the imitations fool you when shopping for Whitby jet. Unfortunately, many try to pass cheaper lookalikes as authentic jet convincing those unfamiliar to the rare gemstone that the likes of ebonite, vulcanite, bakelite and onyx are the real deal. 

The mistrust started in the 1870s when due to demand and popularity jet from Spain was imported to the town. Customers began to doubt the authenticity and to undo the damage genuine Whitby jet was labelled like in the image above and certificates were standardly given alongside each sale. 

As Whitby jet experts, let us guide you in choosing authenticity every time. We’ve complied a list of eight simple tests so that you know your stuff when it comes to Whitby jet. 

Rest assured that all of our Whitby jet jewellery is 100% genuine and will pass each of these tests with flying colours. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptionally high quality jewellery precision set with the finest, most natural Whitby jet




Let’s Get Started….


TEST 1: An easy test to ensure authenticity is to simply pick up the piece of Whitby jet you have your eye on. It should feel warm to touch (room temperature) and very lightweight in your hand. Characteristics that are very different to similar looking gemstones like onyx, which is cold and heavy in comparison.


TEST 2: If you’ve packed a wool jumper on your visit to Whitby you’re in luck as a quick rub against the natural fibre should create static electricity. Simply hold next to your hair or a piece of paper, after the contact with the wool you will notice how strands of your locks or the paper will move towards the jet independently if it’s not fake. 


TEST 3: A genuine piece of jet will always leave a dark brown mark when lightly pressed against a unglazed white tile. Most other gemstones do not leave a streak on porcelain except for ebonite and vulcanite. Therefore, make sure that the piece of jet ticks all the other boxes before making your decision.


TEST 4: Take a good look at the gemstone in question and check for signs of moulding or fading due to sunlight. If the colour has changed to more of a khaki shade then the gemstone is definitely not genuine. 




TEST 5: A more invasive, risky test is to take a red hot needle and place it on an area of the gemstone that is not so noticeable. Upon placement it will smell of burning coal however, if you do decide to take this route it is important that you do not damage the piece you are trying to identify. We advise that this technique should always be carried out by a professional to avoid damaging an antique or causing a fire!


TEST 6: Whitby jet will not scratch glass but glass will definitely scratch Whitby jet - it’s as simple as that! 


TEST 7: When in the market for an antique piece of Whitby jet jewellery no two pieces are the same. The hand carving technique guarantees individuality! 


TEST 8: When your trying to distinguish whether it’s Whitby jet in disguise, an easy test is to see if the stone floats or sinks. A fake will sink immediately indicating that it isn’t real. 


That’s About It


There you have it! A list of mostly DIY tests that help an untrained eye identify the fakes. It’s been a concern from the Victorian age when the rise in popularity led to many trying to fool the admirers of jet and it seems to have continued. Luckily there are many ways to find the genuine stones amongst the frauds but if you’re ever in doubt always seek professional help. 


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