Tuesday, 26 April 2011


27. Victorian jet earrings.

In the early 1960's I bought a plain wooden box at auction for £3. It was filled with Victorian jewellery, not considered fashionable when the country, still recovering from post-war austerity, was 'swinging'.

These Whitby jet earrings are my favourite items from the box, which had probably been owned by an elderly lady because the contents included large enamel and scrollwork crucifixes and a number of jet items, a necklace, locket and ring, which would all have been worn as mourning jewellery, a vogue made fashionable by Queen Victoria.

Jet is a lovely thing to wear, because, although solid looking, it is very light and feels warm next to the skin. It is a form of fossilized wood, laid down in the early Jurassic era and the finest quality is found near to the Yorkshire fishing town of Whitby, where the 'hard' jet is found in seams exposed on the coastal cliffs or can sometimes be gathered in small pieces from the shore.
My jewellery will have been made when the industry was at its peak in the 1860's and early 1870's. I'm Yorkshire born and wear my Yorkshire jewellery with pleasure.

28. Victorian choker.

The velvet choker, with its dainty decorative metal bow is another item from the box bought at auction. The fastening is very neat, far better than the modern versions that followed, especially the dreaded Velcro, which fastened together not only the ends of your choker but also captured and tugged at random lengths of hair!