Whilst anyone can spend time searching for Whitby Jet around the short stretch of North Yorkshire coastline which it is found, it is not uncommon for the untrained eye to spend hours scouring the local beaches for very slim pickings.
With the explosive methods of the Victoria era long passed, all jet we utilise in our jewellery has been beachcombed. Beachcombing is very condition dependent and for which the majority of the time there is very little material being washed up. It is only after sustained gale force winds any large quantity of new material is thrown up, yet any search should come with a warning. As the area is home to many unstable cliffs, it can also prove very hazardous – and in several instances fatal – as cliff falls can throw thousands of tonnes of rock into the sea following heavy rainfall, gales and frosts.
It has been a paid occupation for many local, professional collectors (who refer to themselves as ‘Jetters’) to find the best material knowing exactly when and where to look. At Robert & Victoria we have built valuable relationships with our Jetters over many years and can therefore guarantee not only locally sourced material but also the finest selection.
Alongside knowing the right place to look, the identification of Jet from similar-looking black rocks needs to be understood. There are several pointers to check whether you have found a genuine piece of Whitby Jet, the easiest being;
- Jet should be warm to the touch (unlike black glass/onyx which will be cold).
- The best quality Whitby Jet will leave a light brown streak when rubbed on a piece of emery paper.
Should you think you have found a piece of Whitby Jet, you can always bring it into Robert & Victoria to take a look and offer any advice should you want a jewellery design for the piece you have found.